That Hodge got an immediate assignment to Double-A Tennessee underscores the strides he’s made even this spring, and the faith that the organization has gained in him. He’s already a fully filled-out power pitcher, but his velocity has steadily climbed, and it looks like he’ll be able to work in the mid-90s with his fastball even as a starter. Pair that with a two-plane slider and you have the start of what could be a front-of-the-rotation profile.
Neither his more vertical curveball nor his changeup are as polished as that slider right now, and one of them will need to take a step forward for him to realize his full potential. He’s also about to face a very stern test of his control and command, which weren’t as good as one would have hoped even against A-ball guys last year. Barring injury, though, his floor looks something like Jeremiah Estrada’s median outcome: a relief ace who helps the team shorten games.
Time to eat some crow: I predicted Porter Hodge as my breakout pitcher during the build-up to 2023. Things didn't go so well. All Hodge did was post an ERA over 5.00 and get a quick hook to the bullpen. So why am I doubling down on the tall, powerful righty in 2024?
It's that time of the year again! Major League teams need to set their 40-man rosters in advance of the annual Rule 5 draft. Every team has decisions to make. Some are easy decisions. Some are hard decisions. And some teams will make mind-numbingly bad decisions. Or at least that's what their fans think.