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

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.

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.

Tags: Houston Astros L.J. Hoes

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