You may recall a bit of a splash was made earlier this year when decades of old scouting reports became viewable to the public. Darklighter wrote about some of Tony Gwynn's scouting reports from back in the day earlier this year; on Mr. Padre's birthday, as a matter of fact. I was wasting time on that site the other day and typed in Trevor Hoffman's name. One of the scouting reports on him was from 1988 by one Joe Maddon.
I'm a big fan of Joe Maddon. Well, as big of a fan as I can be of a guy who manages in the Arena League. I mean, how hard is that? You just have some birther with Wolverine facial hair bat for the pitcher and call it a day. But, seriously, he seems like a very cool dude from everything I've seen. Plus, he's friends with Bud Black from back when they were coaches for the Angels and if you're alright with Bud Black, you're alright with me. As you know by now, Maddon was a scout for the Angels before getting into coaching.
In retrospect, it seems that Maddon was a very good scout for the Angels, if for no reason other than that the team signed Tim Salmon on his recommendation. Salmon went on to spend his entire 14-year career with the team; to this day the Kingfish is the most beloved player in Angels history. You could say Maddon got lucky on that one, but I'd prefer to chalk it up to him knowing what he was doing. That said, his 1988 pre-draft scouting report of Trevor Hoffman is more of a novelty than a crystal ball. Maddon scouted Hoffman in college as a third baseman because, well, that's what he was at the time. You know the story. His bat couldn't hack it even as a shortstop so a minor league manager decided to see if his strong arm could translate to moundwork. Come on, say it with me: "And the rest, as they say, is history."
Maddon was less than overwhelmed by Hoffman, giving him fairly modest scores and projections while speaking kindly of him. Using the standard 20-to-80 scouting scale, Maddon assigned Hoffman's hitting abilities a 40 with the potential to reach a still-below-average 45. He gave Trevor's power a 35 with a chance to reach 40, and surmised his running would hold steady at an anchor-like 30. Time has shown that he was right to not be very optimistic in those regards. Maddon did, however, rate Hoffman's arm a 50 with an upside of 55. The corrective lenses of hindsight show that to be a conservative estimate. One thing that impressed me about Maddon's assessment is that he didn't mention that Trevor is Glenn Hoffman's younger brother. That's such a cliche thing for a scout to do, build up a player because he has "the genes" or "the right upbringing" but it's cool to see that Joe Maddon had no time for any of that stuff a good 14 years before Billy Beane was raging against it.
While this particular scouting report didn't hint at the career that Trevor Hoffman would go on to have, it does give insight to why he didn't have the first career he was aiming for. It reflects well on the man who filed it, but more than anything it's just a good excuse to reflect on where these two men came from and celebrate who they became.