Name: Jared Hoying
DOB: May 18, 1989
Acquired: 2010 Amateur Draft, 10th round
Outfielder Jared Hoying initially put his name on the prospect radar prior to his junior campaign at the University of Toledo. Playing in the wood bat Great Lakes Summer League that year, Hoying shined by hitting .375 with four homers, eight triples, and a league-leading .750 slugging percentage.
While scouts didn't doubt the lefty hitter's natural abilities––including his excellent bat speed and intriguing raw power––it was his unorthodox swing that caused him to fall to the 10th round in the 2010 MLB Draft. That swing, which didn't really incorporate the lower half of his body at all, rendered him inconsistent and produced lots of swinging strikes and broken bats early in his professional career.
Playing with short-season Spokane after signing in 2010, Hoying went through a rough two-week period before making some adjustments. He quickly took to the changes and became the circuit's most productive hitter. In fact, the Ohio native was named Northwest League MVP that summer after hitting .325/.378/.543 with 28 extra-base hits and 20 steals in 62 contests.
As the Rangers pushed Hoying to High-A Myrtle Beach out of camp in 2011, the prospect quickly learned that he wasn't done refining his swing. Hoying scuffled through the season in the pitcher-friendly circuit, posting a punchless .236/.321/.355 slash line in 116 games. He hit 27 doubles and five home runs while drawing 45 walks and whiffing 98 times.
Hoying returned to Myrtle Beach at the start of last season and showed immediate improvement. Though his swing still appeared unorthodox––and it almost surely always will––he'd improved his stroke and approach enough to yield successful results.
While repeating the Carolina League in 2012, Hoying hit .275/.352/.404 in 58 games. The numbers weren't eye-popping, but they were more than solid given the difficult environment of the circuit, and the Pelicans' home ballpark in particular.
Hoying's strong performance earned him a mid-season promotion to Double-A Frisco, where he hit the ground running. He played in 64 games for the RoughRiders, hitting .276/.331/.378 while spending time at all three outfield spots.
Having reached the minor leagues' upper levels, Hoying continued to ply his trade in the Puerto Rican Winter League this offseason. Winterball numbers typically mean little in the grand scheme of things, but the prospect scuffled through 19 games, hitting .236/.306/.327 for the Ponce club.
Hitting and Power: The University of Toledo product entered pro ball in 2010 with interesting swing mechanics, to say the least. Although he had plus bat speed and a strong upper half in his 6-foot-3, 190-pound frame, his swing was almost all upper body; it employed little of his hips and lower half. The end result was a lot of whiffs and broken bats in his debut summer, despite the strong overall numbers.
Two years later, Hoying's swing is still on the unorthodox side and always will be, but it has improved a bit and he now makes more consistent contact. Hoying can make up for some of the mechanical deficiencies with his quick bat, short path to the ball, and good strength. While he has borderline plus raw power, the swing will likely always keep it from playing at full utility in games.
The positives and negatives between his swing and raw tools equal to about a fringe-average hit tool/power combination. At the top end, he could be a .265-.270 hitter with game power that one scout described as "more towards a 4 than a 5." Hoying's game power dipped as last season progressed following his promotion to Frisco. While the feel to hit improved in 2012, he still needs to actualize some of that raw strength.
Base Running and Speed: Hoying is an average runner and should be able to maintain that speed down the line. He uses the speed well enough, swiping 17 bases in 26 attempts between High-A Myrtle Beach and Double-A Frisco last season. Hoying should be good for approximately 10-20 steals per year when playing full-time.
Defense: A versatile outfielder through his pro career thus far, Hoying played all three outfield positions at each of his three stops last season––Myrtle Beach, Frisco, and Ponce of the Puerto Rican Winter League. He's a decent athlete who's plus on the corners and fringy in center (reactions, foot speed not above-average there), though he can handle center well enough in a pinch. With Frisco, Hoying split his time evenly between right and left field. He profiles best there, taking good routes and showing borderline plus arm strength with good accuracy.
Projection: Like fellow Rangers prospect Chris Grayson, Hoying has a chance to become a big league reserve outfielder. The two players have different skill sets, however. While Grayson is heavily reliant on his speed, Hoying has more of a well-rounded package but without the one loud/carrying tool. There's nothing particularly sexy about Hoying's game, but he's a solid all-around player with a big league profile as a future fourth or fifth outfielder.
2013 Outlook: Hoying should begin the 2013 campaign back at Double-A Frisco, where he hit .276/.331/.378 in 64 games while seeing action at all three outfield positions. If all goes according to plan, the 23-year-old will likely finish the season at Triple-A Round Rock. He's not on the Rangers' 40-man roster and probably won't see Arlington this season barring unforeseen circumstances. Though he should log some action on the big league side this spring, Hoying will probably get a bigger look there in 2014.
|2011||Myrtle Beach (A+)||.236||420||27||5||45||50||10/19||45||98||.321||.355|
|2012||Myrtle Beach (A+)||.275||218||12||4||17||37||8/12||21||52||.352||.404|