Milwaukee Brewers: JJ Hoover could pay dividends

The Milwaukee Brewers announced the signing of reliever JJ Hoover to a minor league deal worth $1.1M with the possible incentives of $1.65M. The contract includes an invite to the major league roster per Jon Heyman.

Hoover represents a low-risk, high-reward arm that could spark the Milwaukee Brewers 2018 bullpen.

There has been a fairly negative reaction to the JJ Hoover deal.

Hoover struggled in 2017. He posted an absurd 1.77 WHIP in 41.1 innings and had a FIP of 4.71. Yikes.

Hoover will change fan’s minds if he can rebound from disappointing 2016 and 2017 seasons.

A look at JJ Hoover’s career

Hoover has shown past success in his career. He began his career at Great American Ball Park, a hitters field, and had solid numbers. In his 2012-2015 seasons, he pitched 222.5 innings and had an average of a 4.03 FIP.

Hoover has never reached great FIP numbers, but he has had a few seasons with impressive WHIP.

His rookie season, Hoover pitched 30.2 innings and had a WHIP of 0.98. In 2013 and 2015 Hoover had solid WHIP again. Pitching 66 innings in 2013, “Hoov” had a WHIP of 1.11. In 2015, he had a WHIP of 1.12 over 64.1 innings.

Hoover has shown elite strikeout capability.

This past season he posted a career-high 11.8 K/9. He has a career average of 9.3 K/9 which is great.

However, walks have been an issue over his career. A career average of 4.4 BB/9 has plagued Hoover’s career. The BB/9 have only increased over time and the past two seasons he has had BB/9 at a rate of 5.8 and 5.7.

A case for JJ Hoover

JJ Hoover has a lot to prove this coming season. He came into the league and pitched terrific, but has fallen short of expectations as of late. He was not awarded a roster spot to the Brewers and must prove the doubters wrong in spring training to make the bullpen.

If he can limit his walks and have a high strikeout rate he will find success.

He hasn’t posted a BB/9 lower than 3.5 in his career and will need to get that down to at least 3 if he wants success.

JJ Hoover’s career hinges on whether or not he can limit walks. If Hoover finds a way to improve on career walk numbers and maintain his high strikeout rate he could be a valuable asset to the 2018 Milwaukee Brewers.