2014 MLB mock draft: Giants take Jeff Hoffman

Baseball America has the Giants taking one of the best arms in the draft. But there's a catch ...

You should never care about mock drafts in any sport, especially when it comes to an amateur draft as unpredictable as baseball. But Baseball America has a pretty good track record with this stuff. Check their mock from 2005 out. Spooky. And they have a new mock out today for the 2014 draft. Who do they have the Giants taking?

RHP Jeff Hoffman (East Carolina University)

Nice. A college pitcher. Let's see what the draft mavens think about him.

Hoffman sat 93-96 mph with his fastball through two innings Friday and did not throw a fastball below 94 in his second inning. He has a loose, easy arm action and the ball jumps out of his hand with downhill plane and minimal effort from a three-quarters slot. Hoffman largely pitched off his fastball.

Mmm-hmm. That sounds incredible.

The comparisons have been from Adam Wainwright for the Cape dominance to Kevin Gausman for his build and repertoire to Justin Verlander for his ability to reach the upper 90's late in the game.

/fans self

The total package is very enticing. For me, Hoffman’s ceiling is that of a No. 2 big-league starter with three pitches that project to grade out in the 60-70 range to go along with 45-50 command and control, and a body that looks like it will handle a 200-inning workload.

Sold. Wrap him up. We'll take him.

Aiken, Rodon and Kolek are joined by San Diego's Rancho Bernardo High catcher Alex Jackson, East Carolina University righthander Jeff Hoffman, University of San Francisco center fielder Brad Zimmer and LSU righthander Aaron Nola on the Astros' short list for No. 1.

I mean, his potential is good enough for the smart folks in Houston to consider him at #1. And he might fall to #14? Why, that's a ...

Though he lacked consistency this spring, Hoffman also had some dominant outings, and he was in the mix to go No. 1 overall to the Astros. That changed when he missed two starts in late April and early May, and East Carolina announced he would require Tommy John surgery.
Giphy_medium

What the ...

I'm not sure how to feel about this. There are two simple truths to point out:

  1. It's really hard to find star-caliber talent with the 14th-overall pick

  2. Pitchers don't always bounce back from Tommy John surgery

The risk and reward are fighting, and it gives me an idea what it would look like if Yasiel Puig charged the mound against Madison Bumgarner. So much risk. So much reward. Here's a video of Hoffman:

There were a few videos on YouTube, but this one was my favorite because of its simplicity. The hitter saw three pitches and didn't have a chance.

I'm all for value at #14. This would be a tremendous value if Hoffman returns from injury. If he returns from serious, career-altering injury. The Giants struck ligament gold with Brian Wilson, but they waited 24 rounds to do it. To give guaranteed money and use a first-round pick -- a relatively high pick after a lousy season, mind you -- on a pitcher who just underwent Tommy John seems crazy. 

At the same time, the Nationals just took the same risk with Lucas Giolito, and he's one of the very best pitching prospects in the game. They gambled with their #16 pick, and it looks like a fantastic gamble from here. 

So I'm in. Call it the Giolito gambit. If the Giants really think Hoffman is the best pitcher in the draft (or the best pitcher available to them), I won't freak out too much with this pick. There are some people who prefer to get that pesky ligament surgery out of the way. It's like the pitching version of a chicken pox party! Get it over with and enjoy the rest of your life, that's what I say. 

(I do not say that.)

(Gulp.)

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