Should Blue Jays shop around the Cincinnati Reds sale?

2 of 4

Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

JJ Hoover – 

The 28 year old righty reliever could be the impact bullpen arm the Jays are looking for. Hoover has been a fairly steady option for the Reds over the past three seasons. Pitching at least sixty innings every year, Hoover may not be as young as other relievers like Sanchez and Osuna, but he is still developing his pitches. Hoover throws a low-90s four-seam fastball, slider, curve, and is still developing a changeup to work against lefty batters.

In 2015 Hoover showed significant improvement over his disastrous 2014 campaign. In that 2014 season Hoover would be sent down to Triple- A after going 1-10 with a 4.88 ERA. He would only throw five innings in the minors that year, and would look to get back into his previous form. In 2015 Hoover showed signs of improvement, dropping his ERA back down below the 3.00 benchmark.

The difference here was his fastball command and improvements with his cutter. Hoover’s fastball continues to be his best pitch, but at 6’3 surprisingly he’s not going to blow guys away at the plate. Hoover’s ability to work his fastball diagonally through the zone while mixing in the occasional cutter seemed to be what made him so deadly in his first two seasons. When 2014 came around those fastballs were finding too much of the plate, and his off speed stuff just wasn’t finding the zone at all. This left Hoover with a 1.5HR/9 increase from 2013 to 2014, and a walk rate of 11.7%. Ugly numbers for someone trying to prove they can be reliable in the back end of a bullpen.

The 2015 improvements would see him drop his HR/9 down to 0.98, but that walk rate still remains to be a concern, increasing to 11.7%. Working his fastball better down in the zone allowed for an increase of 11.6%GB. The numbers remain uncertain for Hoover. You can take his improvements of his 2015 season as Hoover getting back on track to the player we think he is, or you can see them as his continued regression, and not worth the risk of a trade.

Hoover is entering arbitration and projected to earn $1.1 million. The Reds, as in nearly any deal they’ll explore, would be looking for prospect capital in return.

Next: Thinking outside the box at catcher...