We were lucky enough to have the Pittsburgh Pirates 5th round draft pick – pitcher Logan Hofmann – take some time out of his day to gives us an interview. Find out more about both Logan the person and the baseball player by reading on!
Ever since I was a little kid, I told my parents that I want to be involved in sports. At the time, I thought I would be an athlete, maybe even play for the Pittsburgh Pirates, but my genes told me otherwise. I quickly found out that I could write and do a pretty good job at it. So I set out to fulfill my dream of becoming a sports journalist. Today that dream is slowly coming true, and I couldn’t be happier.
Much like me, a whole new crop of wide eyed kids got their dream fulfilled in the 2020 MLB Draft. This year’s draft was a bit of a mystery with only five rounds, and it left fans and potential picks alike on edge. One of those eventual picks for the Pittsburgh Pirates was the 138th pick in the MLB Draft – pitcher Logan Hofmann. The conversation we had was lovely, and I hope you enjoy it!
You know me, I like to get to know not just the player but the person as well. Like everyone before Hofmann, I asked him what kind of person he is and what Pittsburgh Pirates fans should expect from him on and off the field?
“When I’m on the field, I’m the type of pitcher who will give it everything I have on the field. I don’t want to come off and say to myself I should’ve done this or that. I want to come out there and compete to the best of my ability. When I’m zoned in, I go at guys even when I don’t have my best stuff that day. Off the field, I try to be the best person and teammate I can be. I help people out with whatever they need, and I try to be a respectful person.”
Unfortunately, it seems baseball isn’t considered America’s sport anymore, and participation seems to be dwindling. With that information on hand, I needed to know who exactly drove Hofmann to play this great game.
“I’ve played baseball my whole life growing up. I’m from a really small town with 450 people as the population. You played baseball in the summer and hockey in the winter. I absolutely loved both my whole life, and I was actually better at hockey until my sophomore and junior year of high school. Just seeing I had an opportunity to continue playing at the college level and now in pro ball, I want to keep working hard. By doing that, I can show kids from my area if you have a good work ethic, good things can happen.”
For those of you who did not know, Hofmann is from a small town in Canada called Muenster in Saskatchewan. I wanted to know what it was like growing up in Canada where baseball is growing but still not heralded as a “traditional” sport.
“In the whole province, I’m from hockey is obviously bigger, but baseball is growing at a huge pace. Every night you go to the diamond in my town, and you see kids hitting balls or snagging ground balls. It’s really awesome to see things like that.”
Now I don’t have the numbers at hand for 2020, but I do know in 2018 the number of MLB players from Canada was 11. Hopefully, more guys like Hofmann continue to break that barrier.
Everyone has heroes or idles growing up, especially athletes. As you all know, former Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Jack Wilson was mine, along with Kevin Young. In that same light, I wanted to know who Logan looked up to during his days as a youth.
“Growing up, my favorite player was Derek Jeter. I was a shortstop, and I caught most of my life. I didn’t really start to pitch until my junior and senior season in high school. Derek Jeter is definitely my role model, especially with how he carried himself on and off the field. I wore number two my whole career growing up, including all three years in college.”
The fact that Jeter has made several appearances as a role model is incredible to me. We see how truly inspirational the former Yankees shortstop is by inspiring a young kid from Saskatchewan to follow his dreams. One side note I do have is Hofmann told me he got to see his Jeter during his last year for the Yankees.
I wanted to touch on his college years for a little bit during this segment. In college, you’re not just an athlete, you’re also a student. There lies my question for him. I wanted to know what that life was like balancing school work as well as playing at a high level.
“Both things are really important to me. During my first two years in JUCO in Kansas, there wasn’t a whole lot to do, so you really had time to do all your work. All I did there was school, workout, and practice. When I got to NSU (Northwestern State University), things got a little busier for me with school work and baseball. The main thing, though, was you just got to find time to do both and do both to the best of your ability.”
For all of you baseball junkies, you may recognize the name Logan Hofmann. If you do, you may remember seeing his name being called in the 35th round of the 2019 draft by one of the arch rivals of the Pittsburgh Pirates, the St. Louis Cardinals. Now being drafted in the 5th round I wanted to know how he felt seeing all that hard work pay off.
“It’s awesome. Last year, I didn’t even think I was going to get drafted. It’s a cool opportunity to say I was drafted not only once but twice. After I turned last year’s offer down, I really wanted to show people I can compete at a higher level and up my stock for this year.”
With MLB coming out and saying there was going to be only five rounds in the 2020 draft, I needed to know how awkward the draft was for him. I also wanted to know if there were any extra nerves with such a small window of opportunity to hear his name get called with a shortened draft.
“It was brutal, but honestly, we can’t control it. I had to go out on the field this year and put work in, and I think it helped me with my early success. I knew after my year was done at NSU, I said to myself there was nothing more I could have possibly done to up my stock. Once I found out, it moved from ten rounds to five rounds I was disappointed because I thought it made my chances even less, and I had no idea what to expect.”
He continued, “That goes the same for everyone else too. You have guys that could go 7th or 8th round now have to make the decision to sign as a free agent or go back to school and try again. It’s just not a good situation for anyone.”
Needless to say, nerves for everyone waiting to hear their name was at an all-time high.
The hurler from the great north mentioned to me he wanted to up his stock and prove to people he could compete at a high level. So I came out and asked him what it was that he worked on during the season to achieve and conquer that goal.
“My two years in Kansas at JUCO, I learned a lot and grew a lot as a person, but I knew there was so much more potential that I could reach. I felt like the last spring in college I did really well, and then in the Cape Cod League, I felt like I didn’t have my best stuff despite playing pretty good. I felt like I only had one or two pitches, and my command wasn’t there, but I still found some success, and I knew there was room to grow.”
Hofmann continued, “Some of the things I worked on this fall was just really taking my workouts to the next level. The mental side of the game is something I worked on as well with sequencing pitches. I wanted to add different elements to my game and command all three off-speed pitches by throwing them in different locations. I knew that would be a huge step up in my game.”
Although the 2020 season was brief for Hofmann, he racked up 38 strikeouts in just 28 innings pitched. Oh yeah, he had owned a 0.00 ERA! Despite that small sample size, I wanted to know if he considered himself the “strikeout guy” for lack of a better term.
“I would say in the pros, yeah. My first two seasons at Colby, I had a combined 230 strikeouts, and this year I had more strikeouts than innings. I feel like that’s what type of pitcher I was in college, and that’s kind of how I’d like to be moving forward. I know they might not come as easy in college, but I still want to get strikeouts and not change who I was in college.”
I then transitioned into his arsenal of pitches. I wanted to know if there was anything new he was working on or if he was even developing the ones he has now.
“My first year in college, I really only had two pitches with a fastball and curveball. Later on, I only had three with fastball, curveball, and change up. The slider I threw was okay. This year I started to throw all four consistently. I started throwing change ups to righties to try and sink it under their hands. I feel like I developed my off-speed pitches over the last year, and I’m going to stick with those. I feel really good movement and command wise, and I’m looking forward to sticking with those.”
Although he got drafted not that long ago, I wanted to get a feel for how he felt about the new front office with the Pittsburgh Pirates and how he feels moving forward with them.
“I think they’re going to develop guys. They took a lot of pitchers this year, and they’re looking to develop pitchers. Going forward, that’s a big thing for me, and I’m looking forward to working with them. I’m very happy to be selected by a great organization.”
If you can’t tell, this young man has one hell of a great attitude. He now is one of many pitchers in this organization with a great head on their shoulders and has potential for days.
We have come to the final segment of the interview, and I think you know where this is going! Yep you guessed it, it’s the food question (I know you’ve been looking forward to this one.) Playing at NSU down in Louisiana, I know there is some awesome food, and I needed some suggestions from the new Pittsburgh Pirates prospect. One of the things he offered was anything on Front Street in Natchitoches Louisiana is to die for. I can smell the Gumbo already!
Overall I’m really excited for this young crop of players the Pittsburgh Pirates drafted in 2020. Right-handed pitching was the clear theme, and I think Logan Hofmann will be another young arm in this system that will surprise the hell out of the fans in the near future!