Philadelphia Phillies Sign Former Top Pitching Prospect

He was once one of the top pitching prospects in the game, but after five years struggling in the thin air of Denver with the Colorado Rockies, and another two in Cincinnati, Jeff Hoffman's stock has plummeted. The Philadelphia Phillies, in their desperate attempts to add pitching, have signed the former first-rounder to a minor league deal. 

It's a split contract for the 30-year-old: it'll be worth $1.3M if he's in the majors. The deal also includes two opt-outs, on May 1st and July 1st, if he hasn't been promoted to the bigs.

How highly-regarded was Hoffman after the Toronto Blue Jays selected him with the No. 9 overall pick in 2014? One publication said, laughably in hindsight, that his best comp in the majors was Justin Verlander.

Nine years later, after seven big league seasons, he has a career 5.68 ERA with a 1.58 WHIP, while walking 4.5 per nine innings. To be fair, some of that damage can be attributed to pitching in the Colorado Rockies' offense-bloating environment of Coors Field for half a decade. Toronto traded Hoffman to the Rockies in the Troy Tulowitzki trade in 2015.

The 2022 season was actually Hoffman's best in the majors, as he posted a 3.83 ERA out of the bullpen for the Cincinnati Reds, while striking out 9.1 per nine innings. But his 1.41 WHIP was inflated once again due to control problems which have plagued him throughout his career.

We'll see if he can show enough to get a shot with the Phillies, who are also rumored to be considering a pitcher with even worse credentials in recent times.

Photo: Albert Cesare / USA TODAY NETWORK