2014 MLB Draft News: Hoffman and Bukauskas updates
I posted my most recent mock draft on Wednesday and of course on the day it posted some of the biggest news of the draft season happened on that day. There were two things that occurred on that day both of which I think have pretty major effects on the Indians draft.
The big news was that Jeff Hoffman of East Carolina would require Tommy John surgery. It was an interesting situation as he was one of the least abused college arms this year and was finally starting to put it together. He was clearly one of the top players in this draft with a ceiling as high as anyone. My last big board had him ninth overall because I had concerns about his performance, but he was creeping up my board with his improvement. There is no way around it, the guy has front of the rotation potential and could be a number one type starter.
So what does this injury mean? Well, first the Cubs are screwed. It went from a top four player draft to a top three player draft. Maybe they grab Grant Holmes now, but no matter what the draft just got a lot weaker at the top.
The next point is that this means he could be in for a tumble. Lucas Giolito had a very similar situation a few years ago as I was projecting him as the top pick before his injury and he ended up going 16th overall. In Hoffman’s case he has the advantage of a long clean medical record before this and being more advanced as a college pitcher. The downside is this injury occurred later in the year so he might not be ready for the start of next season in the minors, which isn’t that big a deal as he would be a candidate for extended spring training anyway.
The next question is could he last all the way to the Indians? It is possible, but unlikely, as teams like the Blue Jays, Reds, and Royals all pick before them and have multiple first round picks. If I had to make a guess I would think it is the Royals who roll the dice and add Hoffman.
The reason for this is the Royals pick 17th and have three first round picks. Last year they went for Manaea late and paid over slot for a player who was viewed as a top five pick at one point. Giolito cost just shy of $3 million to sign. If we consider inflation, maybe Hoffman costs $3.5 million. The Royals have $5.5 million in first round money, so they can sign Hoffman and then take the top college senior in Jake Stinnett, sign both and have a very interesting pair of college arms and still grab another player at full slot at 40. Sadly, for Indians fans I don’t see how Hoffman does get past the Royals, but if he does the Indians can and should be in play for him.
The other big news was the somewhat puzzling decision by Jake Bukauskas to pass on the draft right after I finally learned to spell his name. Bukauskas was not on my last big board because he was recently reclassified and was draft eligible as only a high school junior. He would have been 19th on my board this year and I did have him going to the Indians in my recent mock. Bukauskas was graduating already, so if this was his plan then I am not sure why he needed to reclassify for the draft if he had the intention of not going pro. He is heading to UNC which of late has not had the best track record of caring about its young arms, not as bad as Rice, but still not great.
This hurts the draft. There is no way around it, when a player who was in the top 50 on every board is gone it hurts it. It takes away one more exciting arm and again I do question the decision. As a small right hander there is little chance his stock will rise higher than it is now as a late first rounder. If you don’t believe that then compare him to Brandon Finnegan this year who has the bonus of being a lefty.
Keep it tuned to IBI as the draft ramps up I will be adding more updates and coverage on the draft. For the next month my only focus will be the MLB Draft.
Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffmlbdraft, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
If Hoffman does not fall that far to the Indians, and Newcomb and Finnegan are both available who would you take?
Johnny football coming to Cleveland!!! Wow!!!!