The Los Angeles Dodgers organization has found itself searching to fill the void left by the suspension of outfielder Manny Ramirez. Veteran Juan Pierre is doing his best to fill those big shoes, but let’s be honest with ourselves. Even if he hits .350 for the rest of the season (And that’s pretty laughable), Pierre is a below-average offensive left-fielder.
The club has turned its attention to outfield prospect Jamie Hoffmann (with two ‘Ns’). Like Pittsburgh’s Nyjer Morgan, Hoffmann was a talented junior hockey player. He turned down the opportunity to play U.S. college hockey for a good program at Colorado College (He was also an eighth-round selection by the Carolina Hurricanes in 2003).
So obviously, we know Hoffmann has some athletic skill despite being signed as a non-drafted amateur free agent out of a Minnesota high school. Hoffmann, 24, is a player that does a little bit of everything well. He lacks that one tool that really makes him stand out, though. He can play all three outfield positions well. He can hit for a respectable average, but he’s not going to hit .300 consistently. Hoffmann is also probably good for 10-15 home runs in a full season, as well as 15-20 stolen bases. His early power display (.500 ISO in four games) at the MLB level is not for real.
He began the 2009 season in double-A but was promoted after hitting .307/.457/.495 in 29 games. After just eight games in triple-A, Hoffmann was called up to the Majors for the first time. In a full year at double-A in 2008, Hoffmann hit .278/.350/.395 with 10 homers and 28 stolen bases in 37 attempts. His plate rates were respectable at 10.2 BB% and 15.3 K%.
In essence, the right-handed hitter is a good complementary player, who will not be a star. That said, he has the potential to grit-out a few above-average MLB seasons if given the opportunity. Hoffmann could also be a good platoon partner with Pierre for the remainder of Manny’s suspension. Pierre is currently hitting .536 against southpaws in a small sample size, but that is not going to continue.
Long-term, Xavier Paul (who was already been called up and subsequently got hurt) is a better prospect, but Hoffmann, as mentioned, is a solid ball player in his own right. The club’s top offensive prospect (and outfielder) Andrew Lambo, 20, is hitting .275/.330/.444 in 43 double-A games.