The Reds acquired RHP JJ Hoover for Juan Francisco today in a deal with the Atlanta Braves.
Scouting Reports on Hoover have been all over the place on the internet, but here is the best that I have been able to find from what I consider reliable sources:
He throws a fastball that works in the low 90′s and mixes in a curveball, sliver and a change up that are all considered average or a little better. Some believe that he can be a #4 starter, but others think he is a bullpen arm.
This data is only available from one game for Hoover in 2011 from the Arizona Fall League, but gives us an idea of his stuff.
Fastball – lowest was 92.5 and highest was 94-2 MPH
Slider – lowest was 79.4 and the highest was 81.4 MPH
He didn’t us any other pitches during the game on that day.
Hoover has had strong stats in the minor leagues, posting a career 3.14 ERA in 401 career innings for the Braves with 425 strikeouts and 121 walks over that time frame. He had been used as a starter until the 2011 season in which he spent more time in the bullpen than from the rotation. The one thing that could be a concern is that he has been an extreme fly ball pitcher for his minor league career, posting a groundball rate under 30% over the last two seasons. In GABP, that could be a problem.
I can’t imagine the Reds having him in their future rotation given what they have, so my best guess is that they are also viewing him as a bullpen arm. Francisco clearly has the higher upside of the two players, but he is also a guy who has a very debatable floor given his propensity to avoid walks and strikeout. Hoover is the much safer bet of the two given that he should be at least a serviceable bullpen arm in the future.
J.J. Hoover is also on twitter, so give him a follow @JJ_Hoover.