Possibly the most controversial prospect in the system, Matt Hobgood has taken a lot of heat for what has gone on throughout his career. It all started on the day he was drafted when critics accused the Orioles of drafting Hobgood just because they could sign him for slot. The Orioles argued, saying Hobgood was #4 on their board based on pure talent.
Immediately after he signed for $2.4 million he made his way to Bluefield where he posted decent stats, but no one complained because of the small sample size.
When Hobgood’s fastball velocity dipped to the high 80′s — much lower than the mid 90′s velocity at the time of the draft fans continued to bash the kid. The nasty comments and constant criticism haven’t stopped since, and now that Hobgood’s shoulder is hurt and he won’t make his 2011 debut until May at the earliest, the attacks on Hobgood have reached their highest point.
Despite all of the critique, Hobgood is still a solid prospect. If his shoulder problem fully heals and he gets his low 90′s sinking fastball back and pairs it with his plus curveball, we should see more of the first round pick in him.
After watching Hobgood in 2010 spring training I came away impressed and wrote a detailed scouting report, featuring GIF images of all his pitches. Aside from his injuries, I still do believe he’ll get his velocity back and surprise some when he’s finally at full strength.
Hobgood is expected back (shoulder injury) sometime in late-May or early-June and will be placed in Frederick’s rotation. He’ll stay in extended spring training for now.