Logan Hofmann was the Pittsburgh Pirates fifth-round pick in 2020. He was their sixth and final player selected, but you wouldn’t know that based on his college numbers. His final year at Northwestern State University was, to say the least, outstanding.
While all college sports seasons were cut short because of COVID-19, Hofmann still got 28 innings in before their season ended. In those 28 innings, Hofmann struck out 38 batters, allowed just 5 walks, and a single home run. Did I mention that he didn’t allow an earned run? Yeah, he had 28 straight innings without an earned run (the runs that came off the home run were unearned because of an error).
So far at Low-A Bradenton Hofmann has tossed 68.2 innings working both as a starting pitcher (10 starts) and reliever (9 appearances out of the bullpen). Regardless of what role he has served, he’s pitched to the tune of a solid 3.15 ERA, 4.23 FIP and 1.04 WHIP.
Hofmann’s FIP is a bit high, but he has a better .3.95 xFIP. He’s continued to get whiffs at a high rate with a 29.6% strikeout rate. His command has been solid, albeit not great, with an 8.9% walk rate. Home runs have been his biggest issue with a 1.05 HR/9.
Despite the higher HR/9 rate, he is inducing ground balls 46.6% of the time. He rarely gives up line drives either. His 15.5% LD% is extremely good. Considering how well he is at keeping the ball down, it’s surprising that his HR/9 is above 1.0. That should decrease if he can continue doing what he is doing.
Hofmann’s stuff doesn’t immediately jump off the page. He works in the low-90’s and tops out around 94 MPH. But what he lacks in velocity, he’s made up for in spin rate. That was one thing that Ben Cherington praised about Hofmann when he was drafted. Along with his high-spin fastball, his primary breaking pitch is a 12-6 curve that comes in around the mid-70s’. He’s also added a slider and change-up to his arsenal.
Hofmann may only throw 90-93 MPH, but he’s been effective regardless of his velocity. He only stands at 5’10″, 190 pounds. While he may add a tick of velo once he fills out, he may only work in the 92-94 MPH range at most.
Next year will be his age-22 season. Hofmann may end up playing an important role in the Pirates’ future. He could be a swing-man type pitcher, making spot starts here and there while pitching multiple innings out of the bullpen. Think of a similar role as to what Jeanmar Gomez filled in 2013, though with more strikeouts.