Visit our MLB Draft Board for complete coverage of the 2014 MLB Draft. This article examines the 2014 MLB Draft prospect Jeff Hoffman and his strong presence on many draft boards.
East Carolina University right-handed pitcher Jeff Hoffman is shooting up draft boards. He doesn’t come from a baseball powerhouse. Chad Tracy, Sam Narron and Seth Maness are the only alumni who have played in the MLB since 2000, and the school has never had a first-round draft pick. Hoffman is set to change that. The big hurler could creep into the top five to 10 picks of the 2014 draft.
Jeff Hoffman broke into the Pirates’ starting rotation midway through his freshman year. He ended up tossing 73.2 innings, with strikeout and walk rates of 18.5 percent and 7.1 percent, respectively. Opponents hit just .224 against Hoffman. In the summer, he pitched for the Hyannis Harbor Hawks of the Cape Cod League. He made the all-star team, and threw 30 innings with 30 strikeouts.
Hoffman maintained his success in his sophomore year, leading the Pirates with 109.2 innings. His strikeout and walk rates were 18.3 percent, and 8.5 percent, respectively. Over the summer, Hoffman made four starts for the Hawks, striking out 33 in 24.1 innings, with just one walk. He was named the Cape Cod League’s top pro prospect.
At a lanky 6′-4″, 190 pounds, Hoffman has a good build for a starting pitcher. It’s easy to see him adding size and strength. His fastball is his best offering. It sits in the low to mid 90s, and will get up to 97. In addition, it has good sink. When he runs it up in the zone, it can get swings and misses. Hoffman’s curveball is his best secondary offering. It has sharp 11-5 break with good depth, and sits around 80 mph; it’s easily above-average, close to plus. He doesn’t use his change-up very often, but it looks to be at least average. It’s in the upper 80s, with some good arm-side fade.
Hoffman has a fluid, athletic motion with a high leg kick. He gets excellent leg drive and extension off the mound. He uses a drop-and-drive delivery with a three-quarters arm slot. Good balance throughout delivery with controlled, low-stress arm action. Very repeatable motion, even from the stretch. He does tend to fall off to the first-base side.
Jeff Hoffman might not be getting the strikeouts other top college arms are producing. If he continues to use all the pitches in his repertoire and improve his command, he an carry over his Cape success into the college season. It’s hard to challenge Carlos Rodon for the top draft slot, but with a strong junior year, Hoffman just might do that.