Well, this sucks. Mostly for Jeff Hoffman, but also a fair bit for the Chicago Cubs.
Top college pitching prospect Jeff Hoffman of ECU will undergo Tommy John surgery, per Keith Law. Hoffman had been on the shelf for a couple weeks, and now we know why. He’s likely to still be drafted, though it’s unclear how far he’ll slip, and what it would cost to sign him (it’s a serious lottery ticket, and it might be an expensive one). You’ve gotta feel for the young man.
The part that stinks for the Cubs is that a pretty clear top four had emerged in this year’s draft, consisting of Hoffman, Carlos Rodon, Tyler Kolek and Brady Aiken. The latter three are generally viewed as the top three, and many projected that the Cubs would be taking Hoffman at number four (including BP as recently as today).
On the other hand, I suppose this could have been worse news for the Cubs – this could have happened a few months from now, after the draft.
There’s still plenty of time for things to change at the top of the draft – remember: they always do – but the early take is that the Cubs just found themselves on the outside of the top tier looking in. There’s always top prep position players Alex Jackson and Nick Gordon, whom some believe the Cubs may have favored anyway. And there are also a bevvy of other interesting arms possible there at four (and you can dream about a discount against slot, which can be used later … even though that’s never quite as good as getting the truly elite guy at the top).
We’ll see how this news affects various projections in the run-up to next month’s draft.