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What is Hobgood up to?


NickStckMattBat

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I guess it is strange, but you see it a lot with prep arms. Now, Hobgood is more extreme than most cases, but he gained weight while losing flexibility and also had his mechanics tampered with. Some may not realize how important flexibility is to a pitcher and his ability to get all moving parts going with good timing. If everything was working just right for him including a 95 MPH FB when he was in tip top shape with maximum flexibility, then you could imagine how he could lose velocity/torque with less flexibility with his muscles not necessarily working together in the same "well tuned" way.

The disquieting part is that Hobgood has only been at that first-round level for a couple of months--and that was a year and a half ago. Apparently he worked hard to get himself in shape before his senior year, had a big uptick in velocity, and started looking like at least a top 10-15 talent.

Then as soon as he was drafted, he put on weight, the FB disappeared, and since then he apparently hasn't looked anything like the pitcher he was in May and June of 09.

At some point the question becomes whether achieving and maintaining that elusive level of flexibility and fitness is really feasible. Is he going to be fighting nature for the rest of his pro career?

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This discussion underscores one issue relating to high-end high school arms -- projectability matters.

The transition from HS to pro ball is significant, and the number of innings and frequency with which you have to pitch often times results in HSers losing stuff and/or velo. Sometimes it comes back, sometimes it doesn't. But if you take someone that doesn't have the benefit of more strength and durability to come, you take on a project that you'll need to improve with mechanical tweaks and firming up the physique. You want there to be "more to come" with a HS arm, be it velo, strength, size, whatever. Because the odds are his raw stuff, if nothing else changes, is probably going to suffer some when he has to repeat it over and over again against better talents.

Now, Hobgood was reportedly in the 92-95 range, touching 96/97. So if he ends-up a 90-93 guy with a plus curve, you still have a nice mid-rotation starter there (depending on other factors). I'm sure the organization is just hoping he gets back to that point -- I'd be surprised if anyone is expecting his to get back in the 95-97 mph range (though it would certainly be nice and anything is possible).

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Keep in mind that Bobby Bundy was a guy who reportedly threw 88-89 his first season in the minors (Bluefield) after having touched 95 in HS. Now we have reports this year that he was back up into the 90's and his prospect status has jumped back up. I think Hobgood's chances are better than tiny, unless Joe Jordan saw a mirage hitting 96 on the radar gun in the spring of 2009.

I'm not sure that is a very good comparison Bundy was never even close to 95 as a senior in HS. He was recovering from knee surgery (3 months out) and wearing a knee brace set for zero movement that restricted his throwing. Therefore, he had already lost his velo prior to being drafted. As a note, I understand from a recent conversation with him that he has been struggling with a lot of pain from the surgery the last couple of years that has finally subsided. So I'm not sure that he is a good comparison to a "normal" HS pitcher.

no argument, here just think some forgot that he was injured.

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I'm not sure that is a very good comparison Bundy was never even close to 95 as a senior in HS. He was recovering from knee surgery (3 months out) and wearing a knee brace set for zero movement that restricted his throwing. Therefore, he had already lost his velo prior to being drafted. As a note, I understand from a recent conversation with him that he has been struggling with a lot of pain from the surgery the last couple of years that has finally subsided. So I'm not sure that he is a good comparison to a "normal" HS pitcher.

no argument, here just think some forgot that he was injured.

I'm pretty sure that Bundy was in the 90s in his junior year of HS, though. It was the offseason injury that scared people off. Otherwise he wouldn't have been available where the O's got him.

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One more thing to keep in mind is that in HS, when you throw in the 90's, you can just rear back and throw the ball past hitters, so throwing as hard as you can is beneficial at the expense of command. Once you get to pro ball that doesn't cut it, you have to command your pitches, so a 2-3 MPH drop can at times be expected.

I cannot remember if it was Hobby or not, but I think on his draft report from Mayo, it said he looked like he was throwing to the gun in HS......

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