Joining Joey Gallo on the Texas Rangers major league roster: 27-year-old minor league veteran Jared Hoying. He hasn't received as much hype as Gallo and isn't in Joey's class as a prospect, but Hoying does have an intriguing set of strengths and weaknesses. Let's take a look.
Hoying was originally drafted by the Rangers in the 10th round in 2010 from the University of Toledo. He showed a fine power/speed mix in college, hitting 14 homers with 13 steals in '10, but concerns about his hitting at higher levels kept him from being selected in earlier rounds. He made steady progress through the system, impressing with his tools but never fully developing with the bat.
That began to change in 2014 when he hit 26 homers for Triple-A Round Rock, stealing 20 along with a .277/.325/.517 slash line. 2015 was weaker at just .214/.263/.433; he did hit 23 homers and steal 20 bases but a poor 29/110 BB/K ratio was a red flag.
He's been much better this year: .319/.405/.550 with seven homers and 13 steals already, with a tremendously improved 23/31 BB/K in 160 at-bats.
Hoying is a left-handed hitter and right-handed thrower, listed at 6-3, 205, age 27. He is a good athlete and his power/speed combination has always been attractive, but his strike zone judgment has been some flavor of terrible for most of his career. He's been much more selective this year and the results speak for themselves.
Can he keep this going in the majors? Sample size is an issue, of course, and the hot start may not last even if he stayed at Round Rock, but Hoying is also 27 years old, the classic season for a career year. The tools ARE here and this season he's showing the refinement to make them work. If he can maintained the more polished approach he's shown this year, he could contribute surprisingly good numbers.
Here's an opposite-field home run from earlier this month.