Elizabeth Forward High School graduate J.J. Hoover currently finds himself as Class AAA Louisville in the International League after spending most of the season in the major leagues as a relief pitcher with the Cincinnati Reds.
However, the right-hander made a great impression on Reds manager Dusty Baker during his first stint in the major leagues that ended last week when he was optioned to Louisville to clear a roster spot for left-handed reliever Bill Bray, who was activated from the disabled list.
"I was very impressed by him," Baker said. "He definitely showed he can pitch in the major leagues. He got caught up in a numbers game, which happens sometimes to young players. But he has a bright future and I look forward to eventually having him around for a long time."Hoover, 24, was 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA in 17 games with the Reds. He began the season at Louisville then was called up April 25.
Hoover has gone 0-0 with four saves and a 1.80 ERA in nine games during his two stints with Louisville.
The Reds acquired Hoover from Atlanta on April 1 in a trade for third baseman Juan Francisco. Baseball America ranked Hoover as the Braves' 12th-best prospect after last season and considered him to have the best slider of any pitcher in their farm system.