On Saturday at Fan Fest, Colorado Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich indicated that although Jeff Hoffman and Jon Gray may be naturally comparable in the eyes of those following the team, their paths to the big leagues will ultimately be quite different.
When I asked whether Hoffman, a key piece that came to the Rockies in their trade of Troy Tulowitzki last July, would have an early career path similar to Gray, Bridich acknowledged the comparison but balked at a true parallel.
"Well, Jeff Hoffman in terms of the Tommy John [surgery] and the recovering, it’s a little bit different than Jon Gray," Bridich said. "It’s tough to say right now."
Hoffman—who MLB Pipeline recently named one of the best right-handed pitching prospects in baseball, just a few spots behind Gray—recovered last season from surgery to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament that he sustained before the Toronto Blue Jays drafted him out of East Carolina University.
"We certainly feel really good about where Jeff is at in terms of recovery from the injury and being able to take the ball and do what he did last year," Bridich continued. "He was being told by his former team that they were planning on having him be a September call up last year. We certainly put every foot that we had on that brake and changed lanes and changed avenues with a greater outlook towards future help, towards extended help."
That's an interesting reveal about the Blue Jays' plans for Hoffman, of course, but a strenuous rehab process and then a trade will go a ways in changing a prospect's direction.
But like he always tends to do, Bridich remained close to the vest regarding the club's new plan for Hoffman.
"I’m not gonna tell you exactly what our plan would be," Bridich admitted. "I think we have to sit down with Jeff in spring training and make sure that everybody is on the same page. But we all look forward to Jeff pitching for us and hopefully advancing his career at the highest levels here."
That, for everyone, would be a welcome development.