8-19-21 By Craig W. Toth (aka @bucsbasement on Twitter)
It has been over a year since Logan Hofmann was selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 5th Round (138th Overall) and almost 10 months since I first heard from him and ultimately wrote about his journey; from the small town of Muenster, Saskatchewan (population 430) in Canada to another in Colby, Kansas (population 5,387, then up to Falmouth in the Cape and way back down to Natchitoches, Louisiana and finally to Pirate City in Bradenton for the Fall Instructional League where I caught up with him.
Throughout this entire whirlwind process, including signing with the Pirates from his family’s back porch, Hofmann remained cool, calm and collective; which is something that must be second nature to him, as anyone who has watched him talk the mound would surely agree.
Not an opposing figure on the mound at 5‘10” and 190 lbs, the 21 year old hurler is extremely deceptive in the delivery of his low 90’s fastball-often described as an invisible pitch due to its spin rate and 12-6 wipeout 75-77 mph curveball.
Starting out the season out of the bullpen, Hofmann struck out the side in his professional debut on his way to a 7K/0BB/1H/0ER stat line over the final 3 innings of Bradenton’s May 5th contest with the Fort Meyers Mighty Mussels.
For the next month plus he would continue to work out of the bullpen with very similar results, proving that the first outing was clearly not a fluke. In 21.1 innings of relief work, across 8 appearances, Hofmann struck out 33 batters, walked 9 and allowed only 3 earned runs on his way to a 1.27 ERA with a .94 WHIP; ultimately earning himself a spot in the starting gig for the next eight times through the rotation.
As a starter, Hofmann did experience some troubles as he saw his ERA rise to 2.95 due to a 4.01 ERA over that timespan. However, his WHIP only rose ever so slightly to an even 1.00, and he continued to sit batters down to the tune of 10.7 K/9; including 9 in his last outing. Nevertheless, in his last appearance on August 14th, he once again found himself coming out of the bullpen. Not to be discouraged, he went four innings, struck out three and didn’t allow a run as he and Jared Jones combined for a seven inning scoreless piggyback in the Marauders 2-1 10th inning walk-off win.
Now, we all know by this point that performance, especially simple numbers in the lower Minors, is not the only driving force behind promotions. If it were, I could see a few guys, including Hofmann, that could have been given the bump at least a month ago. Yet, they still remain; hopefully not for long as you would think Ben Cherington and Company would want to stick to the line of challenging players, which is not happening very often for Hofmann.
Maybe, just maybe, he would get that more often while wearing Grasshoppers orange and green, but I guess only time will tell if Hofmann will get his chance this year.