With the ninth pick in the MLB Draft, the Blue Jays selected right-handed pitcher Jeff Hoffman out of East Carolina University. Hoffman was born in Latham, New York on January 8, 1993 and stands at 6'3" and 190 lbs. We previewed him earlier this month leading into the draft and noted that he only slid this far thanks to Tommy John surgery this spring. In the poll featured in that preview 61% of you said you'd like the Blue Jays to draft the New York native. Hoffman was featured in a great New York Times piece recently and he was quoted as saying:
It’s going to be tough if I fall a little further. But everything happens for a reason, and whatever team takes the so-called risk and drafts me is going to get the best player in the draft.
Earlier in the evening, high school left-hander Brady Aiken was selected first in the draft by the Astros followed by Tyler Kolek and Carlos Rodon to the Marlins and White Sox respectively.
As mentioned in the preview linked above, Hoffman features a mid to upper-90's fastball complimented by a nasty curveball, with a changeup and slider being pitches that currently lag behind at this point. Aside from the surgery, Hoffman is closer to his ceiling than many of the other players that are being taken in the first round and should move pretty quickly once he returns to throwing next year.
The Blue Jays were pretty happy to land the lanky righty:
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p><a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23BlueJays&src=hash">#BlueJays</a> scouting director Brian Parker on Jeff Hoffman "We thought for most of the spring we wouldn’t even get a chance to take [him]"</p>— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) <a href="https://twitter.com/bnicholsonsmith/statuses/474719264675725312">June 6, 2014</a></blockquote>
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Keith Law notes the lack of leverage that Hoffman has and thinks it sets them up perfectly for later in the draft:
If I were GM Alex Anthopoulos -- humo(u)r me for a moment while I inject my own opinion -- I'd take Hoffman and offer him half of the slot figure, $2,888,300, for this pick.
Hoffman has no alternative. He's out until roughly this time next year recovering from Tommy John surgery, so he can't go back to school and improve his draft stock because he won't pitch. He still gets seven figures and can rehab with a professional team that's invested in getting him healthy for the long haul, and the Jays get enough to grab at least one more first-round talent, maybe two, with later selections -- someone like Iowa prep righty Mitch Keller, whom I've heard them on in the second round.
In an analysis of the pick over at ESPN, Christopher Crawford said:
If Hoffman were healthy, he would have been a lock for the top four, as some compared him to a poor man's Adam Wainwright. Giving a timetable is impossible, but he could be a replacement for the aging Blue Jays' rotation in the next few years, assuming he recovers to where he was.
You can take a look at the video of when Hoffman was selected in case you missed it and what Hoffman will bring to the Blue Jays once he recovers from his surgery: