I received a question regarding Matt Hobgood in my inbox a few days ago. From reader Andrew:
Start from scratch on Hobgood, as if he were a late-round pick from this year who was just promoted to Aberdeen after a few starts in the GCL. What would be the projection?
After seeing Hobgood throw an inning in the GCL and reading the reports from Aberdeen, here are my thoughts on what the future holds for him:
When I saw Hobgood throw one GCL inning on June 24, 2011, he looked to be in much better shape than I had ever seen or heard. He moved well off the mound and covered first base nicely.
He was sitting 86-88 mph during that one inning, and now just one month later has already moved up to 88-91 mph and hit 93 mph in his most recent outing. That’s obvious progress and it’s happened fairly quickly, too.
He doesn’t have his power stuff right now, but it forces him to learn how to pitch to contact and he’s still getting a ton of ground balls even with out his best stuff.
Hobgood has proven to be a ground ball pitcher, and you have to believe that once the velocity and strikeouts come around he’s going to enjoy some success.
Resetting the projections, I feel comfortable saying he could become a #3/#4 starter assuming his velocity returns to the 90-94 mph range next season — and I believe it will.
His curveball is still an above-average pitch, he has good feel for his changeup, and solid command. Conditioning and velocity remain the only problems standing in his way. As I previously mentioned, he’s already in much better shape. Now, only time will tell if the velocity returns as a result.