A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to sit down with the Pirates Fifth Round Pick from the 2020 MLB June Amateur Draft, Logan Hoffman, on a lazy Sunday afternoon. As I have become more familiar with the decisions that players make concerning following the Junior College path to the majors, it has continued to fascinate me because this route is very often overlooked by many. For Hofmann the decision was made based on having two offers out of high school, one Division II school and the other at the JUCO level; eventually setting his sights on Colby Community College in rural Kansas.
As a young man growing up in the small town of Muenster, Saskatchewan, Canada the scouting and recruiting outreach for colleges in America is very limited and extremely competitive, so he would have to work even harder to set himself a part from the pack. According to Hofmann he felt like he almost blew this opportunity when Colby’s head coach came to see him throw at a fall tournament his senior year on a cold day in Alberta, when he unfortunately didn’t have his best stuff going. However, in the end they ultimately liked what they saw and were able to bring Hofmann to the NJCAA as a Trojan to continue his baseball journey.
In his Freshman year Hofmann got straight to work as he pitched 85.2 innings, starting 14 games and appearing in 18. During this time he posted a 4.11 ERA, struck out 102 batters, recorded 3 saves and threw 4 complete games. When he returned for the start of Sophomore season big league clubs began to take notice; tracking his progress and keeping in contact throughout the year. Looking back on his numbers he surely didn’t disappoint those that did as he lowered his ERA to 3.11, increased his K/9 from 10.72 to 12.85 and threw 8 complete games across 89.2 innings and 15 starts.
As the 2019 draft approached the St. Louis Cardinals invited him to throw a bullpen session at Busch Stadium and went on select him as their 35th round pick. It was at this point that Hofmann had a difficult choice to make, and one that he did not take lightly as he waited until almost the last possible day before deciding to bet on himself.
Hofmann went on to pitch that same summer in the Cape Cod Baseball League, where he struck out 22 batters in 16 innings with a 1.125 WHIP before returning to school; this time at Northwestern State University of Louisiana. Sadly, we all know now that his time there was cut extremely short, but he definitely made the most of it. In 28 innings over 4 starts he did not allow a single earned run and struck out 38 batters in the process. But, as with every other hopeful across the country a Five Round Draft was waiting, which had to be stressful time for all involved.
In the meantime Hofmann returned home, hoping he had done enough to get the call. In the 5th Round, with the 138th overall pick, General Manager Ben Cherington put all doubts to rest. Any other year Hofmann would have been swept into PNC, taken to Primanti Brothers and given a ride on the Incline, but we all know this year has been far from normal. Instead he sat down on his back porch and put pen to paper, becoming one of the newest members of the Pittsburgh Pirates organization. If you ask him, he couldn’t imagine it any other way.
So, what does the future hold for the 5’10” 195 lb right hander? Well, after instructs are over he will return to school for some classes and then home for the holidays; all the while working toward the first season of his professional career. Where he will land to begin the 2021 season is anyone’s guess. The changes coming to Minor League Baseball have yet to be finalized, so it may be tougher to straighten out for the first couple of years. If forced to do so I would most likely say that Hofmann will be bringing his 91-94 mph fastball, often paired with a wipeout 75-77mph curveball, to either Greensboro or Bradenton with a trip to Altoona on the horizon.
Go to Bucs In The Basement to listen to a more in-depth interview with Pittsburgh Pirates Pitching Prospect Logan Hofmann.