Sources: Reds acquiring Jeff Hoffman and Case Williams from the Rockies for Robert Stephenson and Jameson Hannah.— Robert Murray (@ByRobertMurray) November 25, 2020
The centerpiece of the Troy Tulowitzki trade, Hoffman never quite found his groove with the Rockies.
In 2020, Hoffman was solid in his first five appearances, allowing one earned run on three hits and striking out nine in 92⁄3 innings. After that, he become inconsistent, alternating between allowing one run and three or more runs. He finished the season with a 9.28 ERA and a 1.922 WHIP in 16 appearances.
As Samantha Bradfield wrote in this year’s “Ranking the Rockies,” “2020 seemed to be the year that he might finally break out, but at the end of it, we’re still not sure what to make of Jeff Hoffman.”
In the offseason, Hoffman has trained at Driveline, Kyle Boddy’s facility. Boddy works as a pitching coach for the Reds, so this trade presents an opportunity for Hoffman whose fundamentals were always solid.
Going with Hoffman is Case Williams, the Rockies fourth-round draft pick in 2020. Relatively unknown on the national stage, Williams was a surprise draft choice for the Rockies who had been scouting Williams throughout his high school career. The 6’2”, 210-pound right-handed pitcher was the top-rated pitcher in Colorado by both Perfect Game and Prep Baseball Report. In high school, he went 14-2 with a 2.98 ERA (94.0 IP, 31 ER) with 134 strikeouts, earning a record of 8-1 with a 1.81 ERA and 79 strikeouts in 2019. (Read more about Williams here and here.)
In return, the Rockies will receive Robert Stephenson and Jameson Hannah.
Stephenson, 27, is much like Hoffman’s twin in the Reds’ organization. According to Brandon Kraeling at Reds Reporter, “As hyped of a pitching prospect as the Reds have had when he made his debut, he struggled early on in the rotation. He made an impact in the bullpen, but was inconsistent there.”
The 6’3”, 215-pound right-handed pitcher is a graduate of Alhambra High School in Martinez, California. He has a fastball, a curveball, and a changeup with excellent velocity and spin rate. After a successful 2019, in 2020, Stephenson suffered a back injury and pitched 10 innings for the Reds, earning an ERA of 9.90, a WHIP of 1.40 with a BB/9 of 2.70 and an SO/9 of 11.70. Stephenson gave up 11 hits in 10 innings, with eight of those hits being home runs.
In 2021, he is arbitration eligible and reaches free agent status in 2024.
Outfielder Jameson Hannah, 23 from Flower Mound, Texas, attended Dallas Baptist before being drafted in the second round by the Oakland Athletics in 2018. He was traded to the Reds in 2019. In 2019 Class-A Advanced, he slashed .274/.339/.369 and was ranked 15th in the Reds’ system according to MLB Pipeline. He is 5’9”, 185 pounds, and bats and throws left handed.
He is a career .340/.420/.502 hitter with 16 home runs, 41 doubles, and 28 stolen bases.
According to Baseball America:
Hannah profiles as a center fielder at the next level thanks to his 60-grade or better speed and a hit tool that grades out at 50 or better as well. Hannah is not overflowing with tools, but as a premium position defender with speed and a smooth swing, he has put himself in position to go on day one of the draft. He has also improved his plate discipline each year. After striking out 39 times (17.6 K%) and walking 20 times (9 BB%) in 2016, Hannah is now walking almost as much as he is striking out, with 25 walks (12.1 BB%) and 28 strikeouts (13.6 K%) as a junior. Hannah operates with a doubles-oriented approach but has the strength that could allow him to reach double-digit homers as a pro if a major league team wants to change his mentality in the batter’s box.
In the end, this seems like an unremarkable trade with potential for both teams. Hoffman and Stephenson may benefit from a change of scenery; Williams is an unknown; and Hannah could be exactly what the Rockies need in the outfield.
Thomas Harding tweets that Hoffman is pleased with the deal:
RHP Jeff Hoffman, traded by the #Rockies, is excited about the move to the #Reds. In past winters, he has received data-driven assistance from Driveline, a performance company. Driveline founder Kyle Boddy and Eric Jagers, who have worked with him in the past, are with the Reds.— Thomas Harding (@harding_at_mlb) November 25, 2020
Hoffman on his future with the #Reds: "I'll continue doing what I've been doing and try to try to keep building on that. I had some success early in the  season, doing those new things. A lot of my success was dictated by those new changes that I was making."— Thomas Harding (@harding_at_mlb) November 25, 2020
More Jeff Hoffman: "The kind of mindset that I've had is putting my next step forward. I'm not not trying to play that mind game of, 'Why didn't it work [with the #Rockies]?" All I care about is that the #Reds believe in me and I'm going to give them everything I got."— Thomas Harding (@harding_at_mlb) November 25, 2020
In addition, MLB Pipeline has updated its prospects rankings for the Rockies, placing Jameson Hannah at #14.
Purple Row will continue to follow this story.