Washington Should Sign J.J. Hoover


According to the most recent Baseball America “Minor League Transactions” column, former Cincinnati Reds right-handed reliever J.J. Hoover has elected free agency after being outrighted from the 40-man roster in August.  A long-time personal favorite since scouting him in college, I believe the Washington Nationals should immediately attempt to sign Hoover to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Hoover entered the year as one of the favorites to act as the closer for Cincinnati, but unfortunately his season started poorly and he never recovered, allowing 29 runs, 29 hits and 12 walks in only 18.2 innings pitched before being demoted.  Prior to 2016, Hoover had been one of the more reliable relievers in baseball, posting four consecutive solid seasons for Cincinnati.  For his 5-year major league career, the 29-year-old Hoover owns a 4.12 ERA, 4.37 xFIP, and a 1.263 WHIP, with an impressive 8.9 K/9 ratio against a 4.2 BB/9.

While last season’s statistics are rather off-putting, after studying Hoover in-depth there are several reasons I believe Hoover could rebound.  First, I learned his average velocity was down 1.5mph last season (94.12mph in 2015 and 92.60mph in 2016).  Also, Hoover’s horizontal release point was the lowest of his career, perhaps indicating some type of injury hindering his performance.  (Thanks BrooksBaseball.net)

Finally, Hoover has spent his entire career with Cincinnati, pitching in their hitter-friendly Great American Ball Park, which has contributed to his elevated his 1.4 Home Runs Allowed per 9 innings ratio.  As evidence, Hoover has allowed 25 career home runs at home in 137 innings verses 12 homers in 105.1 innings on the road – perhaps a change of scenery and a friendlier home park for pitchers could help rectify this issue.

In conclusion, while I certainly understand why Cincinnati decided to outright Hoover from their roster, I believe he represents an intriguing, no-risk gamble this offseason for the right club.  If he was truly injured or if he simply needs to recapture his previously higher arm slot, relievers with a career 8.9 K/9 ratio and a track record of success are rarely available on a potential minor league deal.  Washington’s front office should quickly seize this opportunity and see if a change of scenery can help J.J. Hoover return to his previous form.

THE NatsGM Show #81 – Special Guest Dan Barry


Episode #81 of THE NatsGM Show is now widely available and we are proud to welcome professional wrestler, standup comic and WWE reality television star, Dan Barry!

This week’s episode begins with Dan talking about his debut appearance in NoVA Pro Wrestling this Saturday, October 22nd, with tag-team partner Chuck Taylor against Logan Easton Laroux and Alexander James.  Next we discuss his 16-year career in professional wrestling, growing up as a fan and training with legendary ECW star Mikey Whipwreck.  Then we shift to his career as a comedian, how he got into comedy and the similarities and differences to professional wrestling.  Finally Dan shares his thoughts on his appearances on WWE’s Holy Foley, his friendship with Mick Foley, training Noelle Foley and Frank the Clown.

Special Thanks to Dan for joining the show and NoVA Pro Wrestling (@VAWrestling) for helping arrange this interview.  Thanks as always to our sponsor No Halftime and to you for listening!

THE NatsGM Show #80 – Guest Dan Rozenson

blue converse natsgm logo

THE NatsGM Show Episode #80 is now available and we are proud to welcome back to the program Pitch F/X guru for Baseball Prospectus and BrooksBaseball.net, Dan Rozenson!

This week Dan and I discuss the Washington Nationals unfortunate loss in the NLDS against the Los Angeles Dodgers, why did the team fall short in Game 5 and what can be learned from the series .  Then we transition and focus our attention on the upcoming offseason, theorizing what moves the Nationals will make offensively at catcher, shortstop, and center field, among other spots.  Finally we talk about the 2017 pitching staff, who will act as the closer in 2017 and if we would re-sign Mark Melancon to a 3-year $36 million contract.

Thank you to Dan for joining us and to our sponsor, No Halftime, for their promotional considerations.  Please Rate and Review the show on iTunes and thanks for listening!

THE NatsGM Show #79 – Guest Andrew Bailey

blue converse natsgm logo

THE NatsGM Show Episode #79 has arrived and we are proud to welcome former co-host of the Red Porch Report and good friend, Andrew Bailey.

This week Andrew and I discuss everything 2016 Washington Nationals, beginning with how strange the season has been for several players, both positively and negatively.  Next we spend some time pondering this offseason, including will Mark Melancon return as closer and will Ryan Zimmerman be the opening day starter at first base.  Finally we preview the upcoming NLCS against Los Angeles, the strengths and weaknesses of each team, plus our predictions for the series.

Thank you to Andrew for being such a terrific guest and to No Halftime, for sponsoring our interview.  Please Rate and Review to our show on iTunes – Thanks for listening!