A Look At L.J. Hoes

So who exactly is L.J. Hoes? The 23 year old outfielder better be something as he was acquired along with pitching prospect Josh Hader from Baltimore for Bud Norris at the trading deadline.

L.J. Hoes (Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports)

Prior to the trade, MLB.com had Hoes ranked as the 7th best prospect in the Orioles farm system while Hader came in at number five. The 19 year old pitcher is still a few years away from the major leagues, so if any immediate gratification is to be taken from the trade of Houston’s top pitcher, it will come from Hoes.

After Hoes was acquired from the Orioles Wednesday night, he was in the starting lineup for Houston in his first two games as an Astro. The outfielder then had two at bats last night after entering the game in place of Marc Krauss.

In his Astros debut, Hoes went 0-5 with two strikeouts against his former team. He followed that up with a hit and RBI the following night. Last night, Hoes scored a run after getting another hit last night. So far in his three games, Hoes is 2-11 with three strikeouts.

My early impression of Hoes is that he is a player who has some tools and potential, but is still an unfinished product. But will he ever be a finished product?

He was a third round pick of Baltimore in 2008, and has steadily risen through each level of the minor league system. The problem though, is that it has been a slow rise for Hoes, and I’m not sure what we can expect of him going forward.

Upon first glance, I’m thinking that this deal centered around the inclusion of Hader for Jeff Luhnow. And there is nothing wrong with that as you never can have enough pitching. But, it is looking like Hoes is truly more of a fourth outfielder than anything else.

While Hoes is athletic and looks like he should be a very good defensive outfielder, he has turned into more of a corner outfielder.

The one thing that separates Hoes from most of the other Astros, is that he does not strike out that much (probably around 14% on average). It has become clear that the outfielder is not going to hit for much power, and in some years he has shown the ability to hit close to .300. But on average, Hoes has been inconsistent for the most part.

We can’t accurately judge this trade until we see what Hader can do at the major league level. Until that time, we must resist the urge to judge this trade solely on Hoes’ performance. At this point Hoes will likely be in a platoon situation with Krauss, and he could prove the be a useful player, but I’m not sure that he is a difference maker.

Topics: Houston Astros, L.J. Hoes

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  • astrosince1975

    Hoes’ minor league numbers would suggest that he is a guy who can hit for a pretty nice average with a good K/BB ratio. He doesn’t appear to have any other outstanding tools such as power, speed, or defense.

    In my opinion, that makes him a fourth or fifth outfielder who can come off the bench to pinch hit. He started out as a second baseman before being moved to the outfield so that versatility might help to keep him in the big leagues. But, barring a sudden improvement in the power department, the numbers seem to indicate that he will be little more than a utility player.

    I think Hader and the competitive balance draft pick are bigger pieces in this trade than Hoes.

    • Yoni Pollak

      I think the pick was the major piece. Hader is a solid piece, and so is Hoes, however, the pick has a (solid) chance of being even better than Norris. The pick is right now at number 33 worth around $1.6 million. That player chosen there in this deep class could turn out to be a nice piece of our future.

      • Ray_Kuhn_28

        Yeah, the more I think about it, the more valuable the draft pick is. I believe this was the first year that any type of draft picks could be traded, and I like it.