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Countdown to Arizona Diamondbacks Opening Day: D-39, J.J. Hoover

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I’m keeping my fingers crossed he makes the roster, if only for headline-writing purposes...

MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks-Media Day Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

We asked you to rank the 40-man roster along with the 16 non-roster invitees to spring training, and every day between now and the eve of Opening Day, we’ll have a profile of one of those Diamondbacks.

D minus 39: J.J. Hoover

  • Date of birth: August 13, 1987
  • Ht/Wt: 6’3”, 240 lbs
  • Position: Pitcher
  • Status: Non-roster invitee
  • Bats/Throws: R/R
  • 2016 MLB numbers: 13.50 ERA in 18 games, 18.2 IP, 15:12 K:BB
  • SnakePit Rating: 3.93 [pattern of votes below]

Yeah, that was one ugly ERA for Hoover last year. Indeed, it’s the highest in the majors by any pitcher with ten or more innings of work, since Tommy Hunter put up a 16.36 for the 2008 Rangers. J.J. was a bit unlucky - but emphasis on “a bit”, because when batters hit you at a .345 clip, you allow nine home-runs in 18.2 innings, and have a 15:12 K:BB ratio, the only part of your ERA bit that’s unlucky is probably the section in double digits. That’s why he ended up so unwanted he cleared waivers in August for Cincinnati, completing a remarkable fall considering he went into the 2016 season as the Reds’ closer - albeit, that position one he managed to lose by April 20.

Given he had a 2.97 ERA over 67 appearances for Cincinnati the previous year, Hoover seems like a possible buy-low candidate for a bounceback year. He also had decent numbers at AAA, fanning 50 in 38.1 innings of work. But a note of caution: his fastball was notably down last year, averaging 91.6 mph in the major, compared to 93.2 in 2015, and that may be part of the issue - seven homers came off that sluggish fastball, in 267 offerings, compared to one each from the slider (70 pitches) and the curve (57). I’d be keeping a careful eye on the radar gun, see whether his velocity is back to the 2015 level, as that may be the best guide as to any return to form.

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