After preseason injuries in the bullpen Cincinnati added depth last week by trading third baseman Juan Francisco to Atlanta for J.J. Hoover. The 6'3" right hander from Elizabeth, PA was drafted by the Braves in the 10th round of the 2008 draft out of Calhoun County (AL) Community College. The 25 year old progressed steadily through the Brave's system and a strong showing last year earned him a promotion to AAA Gwinnett before the end of his third full professional season. After arrival he was added to the Reds 40 man roster before beginning the year at Louisville.
He was used as a starter in 61 of his 100 appearances in the Braves organization. At AA Mississippi he put up a 2.48 ERA & 1.069 WHIP before his promotion to Gwinnett where 10 of his 12 games were in relief. Over his combined season with the two teams he struck out 117 hitters in 106 innings with a K/BB ratio of 2.93. Though he's had success as a starter, the move to the pen seems to have been a good one for him. He struck out 47 and kept a sub-1 ERA in 24 innings of relief.
The Braves system has three right handers in Scout.com's list of top 100 prospects. That along with Chipper Jones retiring at the end of the season and opening on the DL made Hoover available for minor league slugger Francisco. His fastball reaches the low 90's and he mixes it up with a nice curveball and slider. There is also a changeup in his repertoire. He would be a candidate for a rotation spot in many organizations and may be with the Reds someday. Right now he's in the Bats bullpen where he'll likely remain until he gets a call from the Reds sometime this season.
Hoover is Reds Newest Arm
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