Who is J.J. Hoover?
He was born on August 13, 1987.
He was a 10th round pick in the 2008 draft out of Calhoun Community College located in Decatur, Alabama.
Further more for the 2012 season John Sickels rated Hoover is the 7th best prospect in the deep Atlanta Braves system, giving him a grade of a B-/Borderline B.
He is a right handed swinger. Overall he has appeared in 99 games, and has started 61, and in 2011 between AA and AAA he pitched in 43 games and started 14.
He appears to have good stuff, in 401 minor league innings his league K/9 is 9.51, his minor league BB/9 is 2.7 and his minor league K/BB 3.51. Further those are not numbers inflated by low level performances, in 107.2 AA innings his K/9 is 10, BB/9 is 3.6, and K/9 is 2.79. In 18.2 AAA innings his K/9 is 14.9, BB/9 is 5.8, and K/BB 2.58. I take his AAA numbers to be of no value, as they only cover 18.2 innings, and his K/9 and BB/9 are both significantly higher than his overall numbers. His AAA numbers are also out of balance due to two terrible fill in starts in AAA.
His control is a bit troubling, as he has issued more walks at each level, his BB/9 in A ball was 1.7, A+ 2.7, AA 3.6, and AAA 5.8. Hopefully that is something he can improve this season.
Hoover is a fly ball pitcher.
Hoover throws "all the pitches", he throws a low 90's fastball, curveball, slider, and changeup. While his fastball is just a tick above average, all of his secondary pitches are solid but unspectacular , and three sold secondary pitches is a strong weapon for a pitcher to have and four strong pitches is a recipe for a serviceable starting pitcher.
Also encouraging, Hoover has been healthy throughout his career and has not spent and extended period of time on the D.L. with a severe injury.
Sickles seems to think that Hoover has more value as a starter to teams not named the Braves, due to Atlanta's depth in the starting rotation.
J.J. Hoover is not a blue chip prospect but most farm systems only have a couple of blue chip prospects, the quality of second and third tier prospects like J.J. Hoover can make or break small and medium market organization. J.J. Hoover is a nice prospect to have, his ceiling is a number three starter or a set up man (depending on how you value average starters compared to very good relievers). In MLB camp, J.J. Hoover has thrown 4.1 innings in 3 game3 (all in relief), but I am unsure of whether the Reds plan to have him start or relief in AAA. I, personally, would like to see him start in AAA, as it is always easier and less time consuming to move somebody from the rotation to the bullpen, than to stretch him out to start, if he is called upon to fill a need during the season. He is now probably 7th or 8th on the Reds rotation depth chart, depending how you view him compared to Francis.
Overall in 2012 Hoover will probably serve as a 13th pitcher; with Carlos Fisher off the 40 man roster, Matt Maloney out of the organization, and Sam LeCure a permanent fixture in the Cincinnati bullpen, it is possible Hoover could get to know I-71 pretty well throughout the 2012 season, as he could see a few spot starts, and could be the first guy up to fill in for a bullpen role. Prior to the END trade the Reds really didn't have anybody who could ride the shuttle between Louisville and Cincinnati to fill holes as needed.
My first thought when looking at J.J. Hoover, is Nick Masset. Like Hoover, Masset bounced between the rotation and bullpen throughout his minor league career, and also like Hoover, Masset, who has excellent stuff out of the 'pen, had pretty pedestrian stuff when pacing himself as a starter.
This was a very shrewd move on Walt's part. Frazier's time has come, but it would have been tough to put Frazier and Francisco on the roster. This trade has allowed Frazier to have a spot, and to actually get something for Francisco rather than losing him on the waiver wire.