Crunching the NumbersDecember 10, 2009
Why do the Dodgers hate Hoffman?
By Chris Moore

Jamie Hoffman isn't a great player by any means, and he is no longer a prospect, but the Dodgers have left him out to dry multiple times this year. If he was valuable enough for the Yankees to rise to the top of the Rule 5 Draft, why wasn't he protected?

Hoffman was the 18th best prospect in the Dodgers organization going into the year according to, and 22nd according to Baseball America. He owns a AAA batting line of .285/.362/.449. He'll go into the 2010 season at age 25, and can play CF or RF. If he defense isn't quite good enough for CF, he projects to be a 4th outfielder, like a Gabe Kapler minus some muscle.

Hoffman was first designated for assignment on September 1st, passed through waivers, and then was resigned by the Dodgers. They did not protect him from the Rule 5 draft, however. The Dodgers made the choice to protect Trayvon Robinson instead of Hoffman, by adding him to the 40 man roster in November.

So why wasn't he on the 40-man roster, and why was he DFAed in September? The answer seems to be that he was redundant on the Dodgers. The 4th outfielder role is currently held down by Xavier Paul. Jason Repko also sits higher on the blue totem pole. I would have been surprised to see anyone grab Trayvon Robinson in the Rule 5 draft, but if the Dodgers perceived that as a threat, it could certainly be argued that he deserves protection more than Hoffman.

Perhaps it just says more about the Yankees than the Dodgers. The Yankees currently have 4 outfielders on the 40-man roster. The first two, Curtis Granderson and Nick Swisher, are clearly going to be penciled into most Yankees line-ups in 2010. The other two outfielders would be lucky to be penciled in at all. Melky Cabrera is a glorified backup centerfielder. He simply does not have the production to justify being played in a corner outfield position. With the Granderson acquisition, Melky will be reduced to being a 2nd choice centerfielder, and a last choice corner outfielder. The last outfielder, Brett Gardner is not even a good option for a 4th outfielder. How Gardner still has a job confuses me.

Hoffman would fit in well as a 4th outfielder. He can play any outfield position, and his production will likely justify his being played on a corner. He isn't a great base stealer, but he has speed on the bases, making him a good option as a pinch runner.

So this replacement-level outfielder, the 6th choice outfielder on the Dodgers, would be the starting left fielder on the current Yankees roster. This was clearly a good choice for the Yankees. It was also very bad planning on the part of the Dodgers if they had any interest in keeping Hoffman.


Brett Gardner may never blossom into a full-time player on the Major League level, but for a dude to post a 2 WAR season with above average defense and well above average speed in only 280 plate appearances at the bargain basement rate of $400k...well, THAT'S why he still has a job.

I don't know enough (read: anything) about Hoffman, but his PCL slash line works out to a MLB equivalent of .216/.273/.321. It's nice to have organizational depth, but Hoffman's not more valuable than Gardner as of today.

Why is it automatically assumed that, if the Yankees took him, the guy must be great? And that there is something wrong with the Dodgers? This article smacks of Yankee fanboy.

Fair point about Gardner's salary and defense. But his value is based on his defense in center field. He won't be playing center field for 800 innings with Curtis Granderson in the mix. He had a career year at the plate this year to get to 2.1 WAR, but no one predicted that and a reasonable prediction for next year is a regression to his mean.

I don't buy your PCL to MLB translation for a moment. Such translations are difficult at best. Its a huge question whether Hoffman will be able to hit at a replacement level for a corner outfielder. I agree. But for an organization with two corners and one corner outfield on the 40-man, I think it was a good pick.

Geo, I'm from Boston. I'm a Sox fan.

Geo, the article really smacks of an upset Dodger fan, angry at how Hoffmann was just disgarded. He just shit all over Brett Gardner, who (contrary to the contrarian point above)actually is a very good utility outfielder to have around.

I'm not convinced Hoffmann will even be on the roster come July, but I think the whole jist of the argument was to chronicle the Dodger's mismanagement rather than praise the Yankees intuition- Hoffman is not going to be the next Shane Victorino or something.

Apparently Hoffman has very good numbers against lefties. That's why the Yankees picked him. They need a RH hitter/OF. He can play a little CF against tough lefties, maybe pinch run a little since he supposedly has some speed, too.


What do you mean he had a career year at the plate? He's 25 years old. I don't understand why people hate on Gardner so much, when it's almost never based on actual evidence. Compare his minor league numbers to Jacoby Ellsbury and you'll see Gardner fares pretty well (not quite as good, but right there). His career minor league OBP is .389, if you were wondering, and in AAA it's .391.

His defense is valuable anywhere. Regardless of how often he plays, he's providing value when he does play. he If he's a true +10 center fielder over a full season, then put him in left and he's probably a +15 left fielder. How many of those are lying around? From May 13 through the rest of the season, he hit .292/.373/.427 with 20 steals and only 4 CS.

Should he be starting on a world series team? Probably not. But what about him says that he's "not even a good option as a 4th outfielder"?

CHONE projections:

Brett Gardner: .266/.351/.375
Jamie Hoffmann: .251/.327/.377

Gardner, meanwhile, is a terrific defensive outfielder and one of the best base runners in baseball.

This is one of the weirdest things ever written here.

I believe Gardner's defensive ability and speed make him an ideal fifth outfielder. He can serve as a backup CF as well as a defensive replacement in LF for Johnny Damon (or a similarly weak outfielder), pinch runner, and situational pinch hitter.

Wow... I guess I need to put a rush on a Brett Gardner post. THis isn't 1999, people...

Rich, I like your stuff, but that last comment is likely to be something that you're going to look back on like your defense of Mike Jacobs around this same time last year.

supposedly they just want to have a option there to hit LHP now that they have Granderson. seems like a meh stretch for the first overall rule-5 pick but who knows.

Gardners and Cabrera are both useful enough players. between the two they did manage to give the Yankees roughly average production from CF last year. sure, it's meh by Yankee standards where all 8 other guys were basically all-stars (And quiet a few hall of famers or borderline candidates to boot). but it's not exactly something to sneeze at either

Matt, unless you think Gardner is an up-and-coming everyday CF, I don't understand your comment. I'm actually defending Gardner's value as a major leaguer. Could he start for some teams? Sure. But I think he is an ideal extra outfielder, a slightly better version of Reggie Willits, who has been the consummate fifth outfielder in my mind.

As for Jacobs, he was a bust. I struck out on that one. He was a little worse than I anticipated (.243/.311/.447 vs. RHP) and Nunez was a little better. But the damage in being wrong wasn't all that much in my mind. Jacobs made $3.275 million last year. As it turned out, about $2.75 million of that money was flushed down the toilet. A poor use of money for sure but a relatively small mistake in the big picture of things.

By the way, here is what I wrote last year:

Jacobs can also be slotted into the DH role, which is where he is best suited. Either way, the Royals don't have to marry him. Arbitration eligible, he stands to make about $2.5-$3 million in 2009. If Mike performs well, Moore can offer him a two-year extension at roughly $5-6M per. He can seek free agency after the 2011 season at about the time last June's No. 3 overall draft pick Eric Hosmer, a lefthanded-hitting first baseman, is set to arrive in Kansas City. If Jacobs flops, he can be non-tendered next fall. Should the newest Royal fall somewhere in between, it is my guess that he could be flipped for a mid-20s reliever on the order of Leo Nunez.

"If Jacobs flops, he can be non-tendered next fall." That's exactly what happened. Just like the Royals, I knew my downside going in, which was a lot less than the $6.2M option Texas exercised on Blalock a year ago for virtually identical production (as I predicted back then).

Question: How did Kila Ka'aihue pan out? He was the guy everyone was touting as the reason why the Royals didn't need Jacobs. He hit .252/.392/.433 as a 25-year old in AAA. The only thing he did was walk. That's not gonna get it done in the majors as pitchers will challenge him, just like they did Hee-Seop Choi, who was a similar favorite five years ago. Turns out he was a bigger bust than Jacobs.