Thursday, March 3, 2011

Bullpen candidate profile: Jim Hoey

Jim Hoey last pitched
in the majors in 2007.
Since then, it's been
injury, surgery, rehab.
Pitcher: Jim Hoey
Throws: Right
Age: 28
Roster status: 40-man roster; option status unclear.
Chance of making team: Good to fair.

When I said in Wednesday's post about Anthony Slama that he may have to wait for somebody more obviously talented to fail before he gets a clean shot at a Twins bullpen job, this was the guy I had in mind.

Slama has average velocity; Hoey routinely throws in the upper 90s. Slama was drafted in the 39th round, which means the Twins have a minimal investment in him; Hoey came in December's J.J. Hardy trade, which makes him third-generation fruit of the Johan Santana trade (Santana for Gomez for Hardy for Hoey).

Like Slama, Hoey pitched in Monday's exhibition game; like Slama, he gave up two runs in one inning. His two came on a single followed by a home run by Josh Reddick.

Ron Gardenhire, quoted on the StarTribune website:

Even the pitch [Reddick] went deep on was not a bad pitch. It was down, with an angle and good velocity. I like to see that velocity. ... You can be successful with a fastball down, too, and [Hoey] looked like he made a great effort to throw the ball down.

As I said of Slama, two runs in a Feb. 28 game shouldn't matter much. But Hoey's going to get more chances to fail. That's partly for the velocity, partly for the investment.


No matter how hard a pitcher throws, a second pitch is valuable. Hoey's No.2 pitch is now a splitter, which intrigues me because the Twins have long downplayed/discouraged the pitch in their organization. They prefer to see their prospects learn the circle change, which is far less stressful on the forearm.

Before Carlos Silva's final season in Minnesota, he came to camp talking about his new split-fingered fastball. Within a couple of days, they were calling it a forkball, and by the time the season started, it was a change-up. I doubt anything about the pitch itself changed; I think they simply didn't want to have the minor leaguers saying, Hey, he's throwing it, let me try it.

Hoey's 28, and he's pretty close to make-it-or-break-it status, so I suspect they'll let him throw what he wants. But if somebody like Dakota Watts (a hard-throwing kid in their low minors) wants to add it, they'll probably resist.

1 comment:

  1. More in-game notes from someone at today's Win.

    I'm honestly unsure how Nishi is going to get an XBH this year. Yikes. Then again, he clearly has mastered the 4-hopper to the middle infield, so he'll fit in perfectly between Span and Mauer.

    James throwing 88 mph, with singularly unspectacular stuff, and giving up rockets.

    Man, Hoey brings gas. First three pitches against Vlad: 95, 97, 96. Catches a liner right at him for the out.

    Uh-oh, Brendan Harris is playing 2B. Clearly, Buck hasn't figured out that he can't turn the DP there.

    Suddenly, Hoey can't throw a strike.

    So, who impressed you out of the bullpen today? Anyone?

    I'd probably pick Perkins and Hoey as being semi-impressive from the pen. It looks like Perkins has his arm strength back. The question is whether he can get LHPs out. I bet he makes the squad, at least as a long man.

    Hoey really does bring gas. 95-96 consistently, touching 97. It looks like Rick Anderson has some work to do on the breaking ball. And is Gardy ever going to trust someone who has the potential to come in and uncork 8 straight balls? It'll be interesting to see whether he can hone his command over the rest of the spring.