Braves Draft Pick Andrew Hoffman Talks ’90s Dominance, Greg Maddux

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Illini baseball’s Friday night guy, right handed pitcher Andrew Hoffman, was selected on day three of the Major League Baseball Draft, going in the 12th round, 367th overall, to the Atlanta Braves. But he came dangerously close to not seeing his name scroll across the MLB Draft ticker.

“I actually almost missed it,” Hoffman said on a media Zoom with Illini reporters. “I was getting out of the shower.”  On a vacation with his family and girlfriend, he was notified in time to witness the life changing moment in real time.

Hoff continued:

“It was crazy to hear that come out, it’s something you dream about your entire life, since I was like five years old I was telling people I wanted to play professional baseball.”

Now it’s official, and today the Braves sent out a press release confirming that Hoffman has signed. During the media call, he articulated what’s immediately ahead for him.

“So the next thing is I’ll talk to the VP of player development and see where they’ll send me, if I have to wait until next spring training or go through a mini-camp, it’s kind of up in the air right now.”

He said physicality is the aspect of his game that he needs to work on the most, in order to get to the show.

Andrew Hoffman said he had talked to the Braves organization a little bit this year, as well as last year, prior to the draft.

While the franchise’s glory days of the 1990s are slightly before his time, he’s quite familiar with their golden period, thanks to Illini pitching coach Mark Allen, who is good friends with Leo Mazzone.

Mazzone is reputed to be one of the best pitching coaches of the modern era, having molded Tom Glavine and John Smoltz into perennial All-stars. Greg Maddux also enjoyed the highest successes of his career under Mazzone.

The dominant starting rotations led the Braves to an astounding run of 14 consecutive division titles (1991-2005), 5 National League pennants (1991-1992, 1995-1996, 1999) and the 1995 World Series title.

“He was on that staff when they were running through the league, with all the Hall of Famers they had, so to have that knowledge now going where I’m going is a good thing,” said Hoffman.

In terms of which of the aces he most looked up to/modeled his game on, it’s Greg Maddux.

“I like the way he pitches, it’s not about overpowering anything, he was always so in control, throwing four pitches for strikes wherever he wanted,” Hoffman said.

“He’s got the crazy stats of how many hitters he went to 3-0, hitters he’s hit, stats like that- I look into stuff like that because the game’s changing to where it’s going now.”

For a full profile of Andrew Hoffman go here.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank, partnered with News NowBanks, the author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America” and “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” has regularly appeared in WGNSports Illustrated and the  Chicago Tribune.

Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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