Name: Jared Hoying
DOB: May 18, 1989
Acquired: 2010 Amateur Draft, 10th round
Outfielder Jared Hoying got his professional career off to a fast start by earning Northwest League MVP honors last summer. Playing in 62 games, he batted .325 with 28 extra-base hits, 51 RBI, and 20 stolen bases.
Hoying initially appeared to be in for a long debut summer. Through his first 10 games, he went just 6-for-40 (.150) with one walk and 11 strikeouts. But the prospect rebounded in a big way.
"I started off real slow, and I was a little disappointed," Hoying said. "But I got after it and made a few adjustments. Gradually, as the season went on, I got better and better. Eventually I got the MVP award, which was a real surprise to me. But yeah––I got my numbers up and it turned out that I had a real good season."
While scouts have never doubted Hoying's natural abilities, it was his unorthodox swing that caused the University of Toledo product to fall into the 10th round of last year's MLB Draft. And his swing, which didn't incorporate the lower half of his body, produced lots of swinging strikes and broken bats early on in Spokane.
As Hoying entered the professional game, he knew his swing would need some tweaking. But the Rangers typically don't make major adjustments with newly drafted prospects during their debut summer.
It was Hoying, tired of his struggles, that approached the club about making the necessary changes.
"It took about two weeks," he said. "I wasn't having very much success with the old style that I was swinging. I just went in one day and talked to them. I said, ‘It needs to be done.' They weren't going to do anything until instructs."
The 21-year-old worked on getting a better base underneath him. He widened his stance slightly and began to get more of his lower body into the swing.
"I've changed a bunch," Hoying said. "Coming into here, for my power, I never really used my lower-half much. And I really learned a lot in using my lower half. I changed my whole swing up from what I first had coming out here.
"The hitting coaches out here were great. They really worked with me to use my lower half more and just kind of use my whole body instead of just my hands to swing."
Hoying proved receptive to the adjustments, and as a result his numbers took off almost immediately. Following the rough start, he posted a sparkling .360/.416/.601 slash line over his final 52 contests.
Even with the success, Hoying's problematic 26.2% strikeout rate remained consistent throughout the summer. He whiffed 70 times in 267 plate appearances.
The Ohio native was able to come away from his first season with excellent overall numbers and some hardware, but he knows plenty of work still lies ahead.
"It took a good two weeks to really feel something different," he said. "And I'm still learning with it––the new swing and everything. It gets better day by day."
Also See: Q&A with Rangers 10th Round Pick Jared Hoying (June 17, 2010)
Minor League Players of the Month: July (August 2, 2010)
Rangers Minor League Mailbag (August 27, 2010)
Hoying impressive in debut summer (September 14, 2010)
Rangers Instructional League Notes (September 27, 2010)
Batting and Power: The left-handed hitter was somewhat of a riddle to scouts during his days at the University of Toledo. Despite showing solid physical tools, Hoying was a streaky hitter with an unorthodox swing that didn't employ any of his lower half––he relied solely on his excellent bat speed.
Hoying generates plus raw power through his good strength and bat speed, but the hit tool is currently below average. As Hoying states in the above story, he made progress in utilizing his lower half with Spokane last summer, but the swing is still very much a work in progress.
Though he had trouble making consistent contact, he showed positive signs by driving the ball to all fields more often as the season progressed. Hoying appears to have at least some feel for hitting, and if he can make the necessary changes over time, he has the raw talent to become a top prospect.
Base Running and Speed: The 6-foot-3, 190-pound prospect has average speed, but his excellent instincts on the base paths help it play up to a solid-average tool. After attempting just 10 steals per season during his three-year collegiate career, Hoying swiped 20 bags in 29 attempts over 62 games with Spokane last year. While he's unlikely to run at quite the same rate at the upper levels, he could notch 10-20 stolen bases per year down the line.
Defense: A shortstop for much of his collegiate career, Hoying moved to center field during his 2010 campaign at Toledo. He was drafted as an outfielder and played 59 games in left field with short-season Spokane last summer.
Hoying is still learning to play in the outfield but has the tools to become a plus defender with more seasoning. His reads and jumps are currently inconsistent, and he doesn't yet get maximum carry behind his throws. He's a good athlete that covers plenty of ground with long strides and has plus raw arm strength. Hoying profiles best in a corner spot––perhaps right field due to his strong arm––but he can also play center in a pinch.
Projection: With an impressive package of natural tools––including athleticism, bat speed, and arm strength––Hoying has the ability to become an everyday big league corner outfielder. The glaring question mark is his hit tool, and it's also likely to be the determining factor in whether he'll boom or bust as a prospect. He has earned a reputation as a hard-working player that's receptive to coaching––an important factor given the adjustments he'll need to make over the next couple years.
2011 Outlook: Hoying is probably headed for Single-A Hickory, where he will continue to work out the kinks in his swing. He could potentially get a look at High-A Myrtle Beach before the end of the summer. While the Rangers like the prospect's potential, he'll still be in the process of making adjustments this season and the club may not want to push him too hard.
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