Elite arms showing more than top bats
March, 4, 2014
By Christopher Crawford | ESPN Insider
Robert Gurganus/Four Seam Images via AP ImagesJeff Hoffman is starting to show the stuff that will solidify his top-five status.We're officially into March now, and while there's still an awful lot of baseball to be played, things are starting to take shape and separation between players is starting to show.
"It's early, but you are starting to get a feel for what you're going to see," an NL crosschecker said. "Particularly with hitters because you're seeing them play two to four times a week, but even with pitchers you are beginning to see how much feel for pitching they have and how comfortable they are at making adjustments. The results don't mean as much as they do in April or May, but it's definitely a benefit for the player to do well early."
This weekend we saw the top pitchers in the class all have solid outings, a couple of well-known left-handed pitchers have their worst outings of the year, and the best collegiate bats continue to have inconsistency issues.
Top arms impress
After struggling to show top-five pick stuff against Virginia, East Carolina right-hander Jeff Hoffman had his best start of the young season on Friday, albeit against competition that was nowhere close to the quality he had faced the week before.
Hoffman struck out nine in the first four innings, and ended up with 14 strikeouts over his eight innings of work against Western Kentucky; giving up just one unearned run and five hits along the way. His fastball touched 97 mph and he showed more consistency with his breaking-ball (Hoffman calls it a slider, but every scout I've talked to calls the pitch a curveball) and still had the quality change.
"What impressed me most was how efficient he was," an American League scout said. "When you strike out that many guys and only need 109 pitches to do it? That's awesome.