Picking Up Pitchers, Part Four

The fourth in a series featuring the seventeen pitchers the Cubs drafted in 2012— Corbin Hoffner (14th round) and Justin Amlung (12th round)

The Cubs took a 6-foot-5 junior college product in the 14th round and the Big East Pitcher of the Year with their 12th round selection.

Corbin Hoffner, RHP, 14th Round, Pick #434, St. Petersburg Junior College

After signing for $100,000 on June 16, the 19-year-old made his pro debut on July 11 against the Padres in the Arizona Rookie League working a perfect inning with a pair of strikeouts. He returned to mound in early August, pitching in six games the rest of the month. He threw three scoreless innings in two games but then ran into some problems his next two outings. Against the Royals on Aug. 12, he allowed seven hits in 1.2 innings giving up six runs, but they were all unearned. In his next outing, Hoffner walked two, allowed three hits, and gave up his only earned run of the season. He finished the year in impressive fashion working five scoreless innings in three games, including five strikeouts in two innings in his final game of the year against the Giants. The 6-foot-5 right-hander totaled 11.2 innings in his first pro season, yielding 15 hits with 11 strikeouts and four walks. His 0.71 ERA was the lowest of all the 2012 draft picks but had a BAA of .288 and a WHIP of 1.5.

Hoffner was a two-way player in high school helping lead Sebring High School to a district final in 2011 when he hit .356 with 21 RBIs while playing first base and earned Class 5A all-state honors going 6-2 on the mound. He was selected to play in the Florida Athletic Coaches Association All-Star Classic. After high school, he enrolled at St. Petersburg Junior College and caught the eyes of scouts in his 14 games. Hoffner went 5-5 with 72 strikeouts in 73 innings posting a 2.50 ERA. He walked 16 and gave up 60 hits. The Cubs are no strangers to St. Petersburg as in 2010 they scouted and drafted Jacob Rogers, a 2012 draftee who plays first base in the Cubs organization. Hoffner worked out for the Cubs before the draft in Clearwater.

Hoffner is likely to stay at Fitch Park for extended spring training and then head to Boise for the Northwest League opener in June. It will be interesting to see if Hoffner's future is in the bullpen or if the righty becomes a starter.

Justin Amlung, RHP, 12th Round, Pick #374, Louisville

After being selected by the Cincinnati Reds in the 39th round in 2011, the Cubs lured the Kentucky native away from his senior year at Louisville (he redshirted his freshman year) signing him on July 3 for $100,000. Amlung made his pro debut in the Arizona Rookie League with two perfect innings against the Padres 11 days after turning pro. He added four more scoreless innings in his next two games and was promoted to Boise. His Northwest League debut resulted in two more scoreless innings, running his streak to eight. On Aug. 6, Everett (Mariners) got to him for a pair of runs on four hits, including a homer. The NWL was not kind to Amlung the rest of the season as the right-hander allowed 12 hits in his final six innings, including two more homers on Aug. 22. He saw post season action with the Hawks pitching a scoreless inning with three strikeouts in the first game of the NWL finals against Vancouver. All nine of his regular season appearances lasted two innings as he allowed 21 hits. He had 12 strikeouts and three walks with a 1.44 WHIP and .313 BAA.

One of the top Louisville pitchers in school history, Amlung left the Cardinals baseball program second in career wins (24) and ERA (2.77), third in strikeouts (240), tied for fourth in starts (41), and sixth in innings pitched (279). In his final year, he was Big East Pitcher of the Year going 9-4 with 105 strikeouts in 109 innings and a 2.31 ERA. He earned all-conference honors and was named a Louisville Slugger All-American. The right-hander won his final game for Louisville, pitching six innings against New Mexico State in the NCAA regional. Amlung pitched in the Cape Cod League during the summer of 2011 earning all-star honors. As a junior at Louisville, he was named to All-Big East first-team, posting a 10-2 record and a 2.31 ERA. Amlung moved into the starting role as a sophomore finishing the year at 5-2 with 4.27 ERA making 10 starts in 20 games.

The six-foot righty is making a bid this spring to join the Kane County pitching staff as a starter, hoping to build on his experience in Boise last season. Just 22 years old, Amlung has the ability with his three pitches and a 90 mph fastball to move up the Cubs system.

This is the fourth of a series featuring the 17 pitchers the Cubs drafted and signed in 2012. It takes a look at their career before the draft, how they pitched after turning pro, and where they may start 2013. Its also serving as a free look at future subscription only stories that NorthSidersReport will start running soon.

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