2) Phillies relief pitcher Jeff Hoffman is the surprise pickup of the year
Jeff Hoffman didn’t join the Phillies until March 31 just three days after he was released by the Minnesota Twins. The ninth overall pick from the 2014 MLB Draft never did meet expectations. His career failure as a starter bumped him out of the minds of baseball fans as someone who’d be able to do much in the major leagues.
Hoffman must like being against the ropes. Last season with the Cincinnati Reds, he pitched exclusively out of the bullpen with the exception of a single start. He was 2-0 with a 3.83 ERA in 44.2 innings of work. Not too shabby.
The Phillies, in their never-ending quest to build a consistent bullpen, saw something in Hoffman. Was it just their desire to stack up as many 2014 first-round draft picks as possible? If so, the strange strategy has worked out. Hoffman has been one of the club’s most reliable bullpen arms. He has grown into more than a middle reliever to eat up innings. He is a legitimate setup arm.
Hoffman has pitched 31.1 innings in his first 30 appearances. He’s 3-2 with a 2.59 ERA. It’s not magic either. His 2.76 FIP matches closely enough to his earned run average to tell us he’s just good. In a season where Seranthony Dominguez hasn’t been at his best, it’s good to have Hoffman available throwing from the right side.