In the past few days, I have twice written that Reed Johnson (in my opinion) makes some sense for the Yankees because he’s versatile in the outfield, he bats right-handed and his splits are very good against left-handed pitchers. As low-cost options go, Johnson seems to fit.
Some have countered – fairly enough – that Rule 5 pick Jamie Hoffmann is also a versatile outfielder who bats right-handed and has shown good splits against lefties.
True, but I’m not sure that makes a player like Johnson redundant.
You might remember that Hoffmann was a name absolutely no one was talking about until a few minutes before he was announced as the top Rule 5 pick. When the selection was made, we quickly learned that he made a lot of sense for all of the reasons listed above, but the fact is that the Dodgers didn’t think they had room for Hoffmann on the 40-man roster, much less the 25-man roster. He has only 22 big league at-bats and only 72 games of Triple-A experience.
Based on numbers and scouting reports, Hoffmann seems to have plenty of potential. My guess is he’ll make the Yankees out of spring training, and he could eventually work his way into something more than a last option off the bench. But I’m not sure it makes sense for the Yankees to go into spring training counting on him to play a significant role. If Hoffmann produces, that’s a bonus for the Yankees and a job well done by the Yankees pro-scouting department, but it’s hard to enter the season expecting a big contribution. Hoping for it makes sense. Planning on it doesn’t.