J.J. Hoover has waited his turn in the Reds' bullpen for the last three seasons, pitching in a setup role and taking on the profile of a closer-in-waiting. Hoover's wait just might be near its end, as the Reds dealt incumbent closer Aroldis Chapman to the Yankees in the final week of 2015. Unfortunately, Hoover didn't pitch much like a closer in 2015, so he may have to compete with Jumbo Diaz, Tony Cingrani and others for the ninth-inning honors. He exhibited poor control and was more amenable to contact than he had been in previous seasons, getting a relatively modest total of 52 strikeouts. If Hoover does become the Reds' closer, he will be a long shot to be good enough for standard mixed leagues. Then again, saves are saves, so Hoover could have value in deeper mixed leagues.
Hoover won his arbitration case and signed a one-year, $1.4 million contract with the Reds on Friday, Jon Heyman of MLB Network reports. The Reds were hoping to only pay Hoover $1.225 million, but the arbitrators ruled in favor of the pitcher. Now that his case is over, Hoover can get back to focusing on locking down the closer job for the Reds.
Hoover might be the front-runner to win the Reds' open closer job, but he's not a sure-thing, the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Hoover's component stats didn't track along with his improved ERA in 2015, and skill set doesn't scream out lock-solid closer. Opportunity is the most important factor in evaluating potential closers, but ultimately Hoover will have to perform well enough to hold the job. Bid cautiously when it comes to Hoover.
Hoover will be tendered a contract by the Reds on Wednesday. After a poor 2014 campaign, Hoover bounced back in 2015, going 8-2 with a 2.94 ERA and 1.17 WHIP in 67 appearances. However, his strikeout rate fell dramatically, from 27.3 percent to 19.7 percent, and his walk rate was once again over 4.0 BB/9. He's not the sure-fire closer-in-waiting behind Aroldis Chapman.
Reds pitcher J.J. Hoover was given a two-run lead in the ninth inning of Tuesday's game against the Cubs, but he could not close the door. Hoover gave up a two-run home run to Kyle Schwarber, which tied the game. The Reds would lose 5-4 in 13 innings. It was his second blown save of the season.
Reds relief pitcher J.J. Hoover recorded his first save of the season in Wednesday's win over the Pirates. Hoover needed just 14 pitches to close out the ninth inning in the 5-2 win. He struck out two of the three batters he faced and didn't allow a hit. Hoover (5-0) has a 1.39 ERA with 24 strikeouts and 13 walks in 32 1/3 innings this season. He's the only Reds player other than closer Aroldis Chapman, who hasn't pitched since returning from paternity leave earlier this week, to record a save this season.