Matt Hobgood was drafted by the Orioles in the 1st round (5th overall) of the 2009 draft out of Norco High School (Norco, CA). Hobgood was named the 2009 Gatorade National Baseball Player of the Year. He received a $2.42 million signing bonus from the Orioles.
Don: I have never seen a lighting rod prospect placed under the microscope of a fan base, as I have with Matt Hobgood. I will tell everyone again that I saw him in showcases, saw him and thought bulldog size with some trunk to keep close to his HS numbers with some improved strength to be at least middle rotation innings eater or higher. The kid was not a huge reach as most teams had him ranked 15-20 range and third best RHP from his high school rankings. What the Orioles have now is a kid who would be a draft eligible Junior if he attended College, so there is still time that he should not be written off by anyone.
He has to comeback healthy first and foremost. He will have to look the part and really push the off-season conditioning to the brink and then some to overcome any perceptions over his first three years. He has the fastball, curve ball and change up, but what are these pitches every five days when he is completely healthy. He has the goods to be an effective pitcher, he simply needs to find it in himself. He must do the things this winter to put him into a position to get back on the teams radar screen. The non-visual results are indicating that he has fully dedicated himself to reach his early 2009 form, as the arm is feeling as close to his high school days as possible. This is the first of many steps and his success must continue into spring training and beyond.
This is the season that will truly define where he stands with the Orioles. Do they continue to push him in the rotation? Do they take a shot at a move to the bullpen to see what Hobgood can do in a one inning set? He will go back to the Shorebirds and take it from that point forward. It is truly up to him at this point where he wants to take his career. He is a good kid who needs a fire under him, could a certain influence on the Shorebirds 2012 rotation push him to reach his potential? I find this is the best case to see the kid who I saw in 2008 and 2009.
He should not be written off, but he must maintain his health and push the envelope in his young professional career.
The future is surely not a clear picture with Hobgood right now. He will most likely start the season out in Delmarva, if he is healthy. He has already been shut down in spring training due to shoulder soreness. As mentioned above, health is truly the main factor in whether Hobgood can take his game to the next level.
|2011||20||2 Teams||2 Lgs||A–Rk||BAL||0||6||8.76||13||12||37.0||51||40||36||3||26||22||2.081||12.4||0.7||6.3||5.4||0.85|