MUENSTER — Like most Saskatchewan residents after a long winter, Muenster’s Logan Hofmann is excited for spring.
The son of Tara and Chad Hofmann has spent the past many months preparing for his first professional spring training in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization. While Hofmann does not know exactly yet when he will head down to Florida, the right-handed pitching prospect said:
“Honestly the thing I am looking most forward to right now is throwing a baseball outside. I have been home since mid-November, so I have been throwing inside for just over three months now. It will feel good to actually be able to get outside and throw as well as getting on a dirt mound outside rather than throwing bullpens inside on a portable turf mound.”
The Bucs made Hofmann the highest player drafted out of Saskatchewan when they nabbed him in the fifth round, 138 overall, in the Major League Baseball Draft last June. That was after he went 4-0, en route to Second Team All-American honours, in a COVID-19 shortened season at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana.
In a late February article on the Rum Bunter website, a Pirates fan site, writer Noah Wright mentioned Hofmann in an article about the wealth of talented pitching prospects the Pirates have accumulated. He noted the hurler had ended his college career with 28 straight innings without allowing a single earned run.
The last time Hofmann threw in a competitive baseball game was March 6, 2020. He has tossed plenty of live at bats and even an intrasquad games since then. Hofmann cannot wait to compete again in a real game.
“I am most excited about just getting out there and feeling the adrenaline and nerves of being on the mound in pressure situations,” he said. “I love that feeling so it will be good to get back out there and throw in competitive games this summer.”
Last summer – instead of starting his pro journey like he would have in non-COVID-19 pandemic times – Hofmann was at home. Almost every day, he threw at his community’s field – including bullpen sessions and live at-bats with local young players.
“It was fun to just be around the field all summer and to be able to do the thing I love even though my pro career had to be put on hold for another year,” he said.
In the fall, Hofmann spent some time back in Louisiana taking classes and training. He was at a Pirates’ mini instructional camp in Florida in October.
This winter, Hofmann has been laser focused on improving various aspects of his game. He studies video, works out in Humboldt, throws in his basement, and does indoor bullpen sessions at Saskatoon’s Gordie Howe Sports Complex.
“I watched a lot of video on my mechanics, other guys mechanics, and at bats from past major league seasons of guys and how they sequence their pitches,” Hofmann said. “During my bullpens, I just wanted to learn as much as I could about my pitches and how they move and come of out my hand so I can apply it when facing hitters. I want to show up to spring training and do the same thing, continue to learn about my pitches and take in knowledge from other pitchers and coaches there so it can help me during the season.”
In Saskatoon, Hofmann has trained at times with Andrew Albers. The 35-year-old pitcher has played professionally for more than a decade during a career that included time with the Toronto Blue Jays. In February he signed with the Minnesota Twins after a trio of seasons in Japan.
“I have learned a lot from him – whether it’s from mechanics on the mound to life in the minor leagues,” Hofmann said. “We have talked a lot about both of those things, and I think it has already benefited me and he will continue to be a great resource to learn from him in the future. He has played at every level and been in pro baseball for a long time so obviously he knows what he is doing and that is great for me to have someone that has experienced what I am about to get to experience.”
A couple years ago, Hofmann also got a chance to talk to Marysburg product Cole Bauml. He was an outfielder in the Detroit Tigers’ minor league system.
“It was neat to hear about his time in pro baseball and some of the things that go on in the minor leagues,” Hofmann said.
While he is headed to his first pro spring training, Hofmann’s baseball journey has already had several stops. They include playing for his hometown 18U Red Sox (where he was coached by his father), the Colby (Kansas) Community College Trojans, the Moose Jaw Miller Express of the Western Canadian Baseball League, the Falmouth Commodores of the Cape Cod Baseball League, and the Northwestern State University Demons. No matter where the game has taken him, Hofmann has been backed by his extended family.
“The support from my family has been great ever since I was a young kid,” he said. “They have all come to watch and support me at some point over the years and continued to follow along throughout college and now into pro baseball. I’m sure they are looking forward to coming down to the states to watch me when they can as well.”