Prospect Notes: Logan Hofmann, Brad Case, Nick Dombkowski, Tsung-Che Cheng

After a week off, we are back with the prospect notes! A couple of weeks ago, there were updates on Wyatt Hendrie, Abrahan Gutierrez, Matt Fraizer, and J.C. Flowers. This week you will receive updates on pitchers Logan Hofmann, Brad Case, Nick Dombkowski, and infielder Tsung-Che Cheng! We also have extended features on Hofmann and Cheng this week, linked below.

LOGAN HOFMANN 

BREAKDOWN: Hofmann was a part of the 2020 draft class that had to sit on their hands for a year before they saw some real action. The young Canadian started off in the bullpen but was stretched out as a starter towards the end of the year. Although his splits tell you he was better as a reliever, his numbers as a starter weren’t terrible, holding opponents to a .213/.312/.436 slash line.

HOFMANN:  “My goal this off-season is to continue to put in the work I have in the past to get in better shape to prepare next season. I felt like at the end of the season, I wasn’t moving well off the mound. My main goal was to improve my movement on the mound.”

“I’m working on moving faster down the mound in a more efficient way and working on more explosive stuff when it comes to the weight room and pre-throwing routine. In terms of my stuff, I’m just working on using my lower half more and getting everything in sync.”

ANALYSIS: Hofmann also divulged that he’s been throwing fastballs and changeups in pen sessions for the most part. Hofmann’s changeup is feeling good coming out of his hand, and he is hopeful that it can become a good secondary pitch. The curveball and slider have different movement paths in catch play, which is exactly what Hofmann is looking for.

Logan Hofmann: Spin Rate Makes Righty Interesting Prospect to Watch

BRAD CASE

BREAKDOWN: Case is an interesting case (pun intended); after a tumultuous time with having COVID and dealing with everyday struggles a player goes through, Case has found himself a step or two away from the show. With a newfound “one seam fastball,” as he puts it, he could see himself in black and gold before too long, especially if he’s a bullpen arm because every major league team needs more help in the pen.

CASE: “I plan on utilizing all five of my pitches next year, which are my sinker, four-seam, changeup, cutter, and slider. I’m trying to use the ground as much as possible and use more of my lower half for my mechanics.”

“I’ve been on the mound twice so far, and I’m feeling great! I’ve been working with Tread this off-season, and I’m really enjoying that program a ton. Time will tell if the lower half stuff will work but I certainly hope that it pays off.”

ANALYSIS: Case is one of those pitchers who brings experience from a starter’s perspective and now a pen arm’s perspective. That experience is invaluable to teams, in my opinion. Do you need a starter last minute? Case is your guy; if you need a ground ball pen arm, Case is your guy. Plus, that 6′ 6″ 242 pound frame is an intimidating presence on the mound. 

NICK DOMBKOWSKI:

BREAKDOWN: Dombkowski was one of the first undrafted free agents the Pirates picked up after the 2021 draft concluded, and from early results, it was a good pickup. In 18.2 innings pitched, Dombkowski struck out 23, walked six, and gave up 13 hits. The biggest concern for me was the three gopher balls in 18.2 innings. Not saying it’s a trend but just a little concerning. 

DOMBKOWSKI: “The biggest thing is preparing my body for my first full season of pro ball. Going into the off-season, I knew I had to work on my velocity along with refining my slider and getting better bite on it. I’ve seen improvement in my velocity and started to take some leaps with my slider.”

ANALYSIS: At the age of 23, there wouldn’t be a shock if a guy like Dombkowski moves up the chain a little faster if he shows he can handle the competition. Greensboro is always a test for pitchers, and with a little concern for the gopher ball, Dombkowski will be tested early. If he developed a bite with his slider and has an uptick in velocity, it should ease the process slightly.

TSUNG-CHE CHENG 

BREAKDOWN: Cheng burst onto the scene in 2021, but in a lot of people’s mind’s is still a relatively unknown Pirates’ prospect. Cheng, in fact, led the entire Pirate system in batting average with a .311, albeit it was a small sample size with just 157 plate appearances. He showed speed with 16 stolen bags, patience with a 19.1 BB% and a K% of just 8.9. His winter ball experience has also been a pleasant one

CHENG: “It wasn’t just about baseball with me in winter ball. Columbia is a different environment for me. In the beginning, I was trying to figure out how to eat well and fit in. The manager Jose and Mendy and my teammates and coaches have helped me a lot in that aspect.”

“My goal is not to be the MVP down here; if I earn that, then all the better, but I know this is more about experience for me. At first I knew when I’d be in the cage but didn’t know exactly what to do in the cage. Now, I know how to prepare in the cage and make sure I’m 100% going into the game.”

“For my defense, I’m focusing on throwing to the chest every time even when I’m playing catch. For hitting, I focus on my backside because after my swing I’d be more on the pitcher side. Now, I’m trying to stay more in the middle after my swing, that’s a big thing I worked on during the cage sessions.”

Tsung-Che Cheng Gains Valuable Experience in Winter Ball

ANALYSIS: Cheng gave a huge analysis on what he’s been working on in winter ball, and one of the bigger things he said, it was what he called “Babe Ruth” training in the cages. It’s where he crosses his right foot over his left, and then he swings. His work ethic during the winter is paying dividends and should translate when the 2022 season is underway.

An example of the Babe Ruth training:  

THIS WEEK ON PIRATES PROSPECTS

Top 100 Prospects: The Pirates Have a Strong Showing Heading Into 2022

“Strengthening Between the Ears,” Quinn Priester Preparing For 2022

A Clear Mindset Drives Roansy Contreras to the Top 100 and the Majors

Williams: The Capacity For Change

Tsung-Che Cheng Gains Valuable Experience in Winter Ball

Logan Hofmann: Spin Rate Makes Righty Interesting Prospect to Watch

Prospect Notes: Logan Hofmann, Brad Case, Nick Dombkowski, Tsung-Che Cheng

PROSPECT WATCH

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