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Report: Jeff Hoffman could be a first-round pick despite Tommy John surgery

May 8, 2014, 7:08 PM EDT

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East Carolina University pitcher Jeff Hoffman was long mentioned as a potential top-five pick in next month’s First-Year Player Draft, but he’s expected to fall on the board now that he’s headed for Tommy John surgery. However, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman hears that it’s still possible he’ll be selected in the first round:

Hard-throwing right-handed pitching prospect Jeff Hoffman lost his chance to be a top-four pick in next month’s MLB draft of amateurs, after news hit that Hoffman needed Tommy John surgery. However, scouting directors still suggest it’s possible he could be a first-round pick, and possibly even a top-10-15 pick.

Scouting directors also suggested that teams with multiple high picks might be more likely to use a pick on Hoffman, who still is seen as having a high ceiling but will come with the small question of surgery results. The situation is akin to highly-regarded right-hander Lucas Giolito, who was picked No. 16 overall as a prep pitcher two drafts ago by the Nationals. There were concerns with him over a UCL that required Tommy John surgery as well.

Teams with multiple early picks might be more willing to take the gamble, as they also have the draft pool money attached to those picks. With that in mind, teams like the Blue Jays, Royals, Red Sox, and Astros are worth watching. The Royals found themselves in a similar situation last year, when they took left-hander Sean Manaea with their competitive balance pick amid concerns about his hip. They could get creative again this year.

Hoffman, 21, had a 2.94 ERA and 72/20 K/BB ratio in 67 1/3 innings this season prior to being shut down. According to Clint Longenecker of Baseball America, the 6-foot-4 right-hander has “easy mid-90s velocity and two offspeed pitches that show at least plus potential in addition to above-average control.”

  1. jwbiii - May 8, 2014 at 7:42 PM

    B-Pro just gave Giolito a very nice writeup today.

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=23518#pitreport75

  2. daveeproc - May 8, 2014 at 7:48 PM

    Let’s see. In 2011, Anthony Rendon fell due to injury, Nationals took him. In 2012, Giolito fell due to injury, Nats took him. They like these kinds of risks.

  3. sfm073 - May 8, 2014 at 8:59 PM

    In the year 2014 why would a team not draft a potential top 5 pick bc of tommy John? I understand avoiding him with a top 10 pick, but anything beyond he becomes a steal.

  4. wilmyers09 - May 8, 2014 at 10:24 PM

    sfm073 u never know he might not be the same after tommy John

  5. icanspeel - May 9, 2014 at 10:10 AM

    Just about all MLB drafts are timely investments, so might as well take a chance on a potential future star, since it’d be a few years since they made the majors anyways.

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