Prospect #18 - OF Jamie Hoffman

There seems to be something about hockey that allows some athletes into good baseball players, Orel Hershiser is an example and Eric Gagné is another. Soon they may be saying the same thing about our Prospect #33, Outfielder Jamie Hoffman.

OF JAMIE HOFFMAN
br tr 6-3 221
Born-August 20, 1984
Obtained-Signed as a non-drafted free agent 2004


Everyone has heard the story about the baseball scout that stopped to ask directions of a lad plowing a field behind a mule. When the lad picked up the plow and pointed "that way" he was immediately inked to a contract. Jamie Hoffman's signing was not as dramatic but unusual none the less.

In August 2003, then-Dodger scout Jeff Schugel attended a 25th reunion of his championship American Legion team. As Schugel relived old memories with his former teammates they watched an area Legion team in action. There, Schugel saw a player he really liked, and as scouts are always scouts, he talked him into signing with the Dodgers.

The young player he signed, Jamie Hoffmann, was totally unknown. He had been named the state's Class AAA Player of the Year after leading New Ulm to the state hockey title and it seemed clear to most that hockey was Hoffmann's game.

So although he had been a bruising defenseman that he had been drafted by the Caroline Hurricanes of the NHL, and had decided to accept a scholarship to Colorado College, an NCAA ice powerhouse, the Dodgers won out.

Hoffman debuted in 2004 in the Gulf Coast League in which he promptly became one of the league's best. At 6-3, 205, he was a powerhouse third baseman with a stroke that was somewhat long but still quick to the ball and produced solid numbers.

When the season was over he had hit .310, leading the league in hits (71), triples (7), RBI (36) and runs (40). He was also among the leaders in stolen bases (14 out of 19 tries) and that plus those triples is what surprised the Dodgers the most for they didn't believe at first that someone of his size (6-3, 205) could move so quickly.

"We had a 40-yard dash in spring training, " Jamie told Bill Shelley. "When I won they looked at me and said, 'What's going on here?'"

Hoffman has been a third baseman, with more than acceptable skills but the Dodgers, looking down the road, know well that they had two excellent prospects at that position -- Andy LaRoche and Blake DeWitt. So Hoffmann was converted into an outfielder.

He's an aggressive player who battles. He moves well and is quick on the bases, stealing 14 as a rookie.

Moving to Columbus in 2005, he was moved into the leadoff slot, becoming perhaps the biggest leadoff man in the league, and switched from third base to the outfield. Not only to the outfield but to center where his swiftness could come into play.

In his rookie season he was the Gulf Coast team's mainstays, a middle-of-the-order man that they loved to see come up with men on. He batted .308 and drove in 24 in 46 games so it was hardly that he failed at his task.

Despite that size, he managed only one home run and though the thought was that as he grows into the game, the long balls will be more frequent. Later in the season when he was moved to Vero Beach, wound up with a .241 mark while adding just one more round-tripper.

Opening back in Vero Beach in 2006, he was ranked by Baseball America as the best defensive outfielder in the Dodger system, and although his average took a hit, slipping to .252, he had a career high in runs (50), hits (109), doubles (16), home runs (5), runs batted in (29) and stolen bases (15).

He got a cup of coffee with Las Vegas and banged out three hits in 10 trips to the plate, not a bad AAA debut.

He stayed in High-A in 2007, this time with Inland Empire, and picked up momentum as the season moved along. He finished hitting .309 with 134 hits, 22 doubles, seven triples and nine homers, knocking in a career-high 81 runs. He also had 79 runs created.

And although the Sixty-Sixers lost a three game playoff with Lake Elsinore, he came into his own. He went 6-for-15 (.400) and his RBI double drove in the winning run in the 14th inning in the 4-3 opener; He went 4-for-5 with a solo homer, two runs scored and two RBIs for Inland Empire in the second game before being held hitless in the final game, an 8-2 loss. Overall he was 10-for-24 (.417).

He hardly missed a beat after moving up to Jacksonville in 2008.

He set personal records for games played (133), hits (133), home runs (10) and stolen bases, swiping 29 in 37 attempts. He is a solid fielder with a strong arm. He will be playing in Albuquerque in 2009, just one step from The Show.

Jamie Hoffman

year	team    ave   obp   ops   gm   ab   r    h  2b 3b hr  bi  sb
2004  GCLeague .310  .374  .834   60  229  40   71   8  7  4  36  14
2005  Columbus .308  .383  .733   79  321  53   99  13  9  1  24  10
      VBeach   .241  .287  .797   79  166  26   40   6  2  1  10   3
2006  VBeach   .252  .309  .606   46  133  50  109  16  0  5  29  15	  	
      LVegas   .300  .417  .632    4   10   0    3   0  0  0   0   1
2007  IEmpire  .309  .378  .833  116  433  67  134  22  7  9  81  19
2008  Jackvil  .278  .350  .745  133  478  64  133  20  3 10  71  28
 Totals        .285  .351  .747  559 2070 300  589  85 28 30 251  90