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Chasing The Dream: The L.J. Hoes Story and Interview

In sports it is always a players dream to be drafted by your hometown team. It’s also a dream come true to play in front of your hometown fans. In today’s feature story we take a look at Baltimore Orioles prospect L.J. Hoes. For Hoes, a native of Bowie Maryland those dreams started to become a reality when the Orioles selected him in the 3rd round of the 2008 draft.

L.J. Hoes: Quick Stats

Team: Baltimore Orioles Twitter: @MRLJHOES2U

Height: 6′ 1″, Weight: 181 lb. Born: March 5, 1990 in Bowie, Maryland (Age 22)

Drafted:  Baltimore Orioles in the 3rd round of the 2008 MLB June Amateur Draft

Favorite Player Growing Up: Ken Griffey Jr.

Chasing The Dream: The LJ Hoes Story

In sports it is always a players dream to be drafted by your hometown team. It’s also a dream come true to play in front of your hometown fans. In today’s feature story we take a look at Baltimore Orioles prospect L.J. Hoes.  For Hoes, a native of Bowie Maryland those dreams started to become a reality when the Orioles selected him in the 3rd round of the 2008 draft.

A lifelong Orioles fan growing up in Bowie, Maryland, Hoes starred on his baseball team at St. Johns High School in Washington D.C.  For three consecutive seasons Hoes was named First Team All-Met selection by the Washington Post. Hoes had signed to play his college baseball at the University of North Carolina.  It was this perceived strong commitment that scared many teams off as the draft neared. On draft day Hoes fell to the third round, where his hometown team, the Baltimore Orioles selected him and later convinced him to bypass UNC to sign with them. It has been reported that Baltimore offered Hoes a $490,000 signing bonus to become a member of the organization.

Hoes got to live out a dream playing for his hometown Bowie Baysox in 2011

At St. Johns, Hoes primarily played the outfield, however as Hoes started his professional career the Orioles planned to develop him as a second baseman. The Orioles believed that the hometown kid would adjust quickly to the professional game and he did not disappoint, hitting .308 with 1 home run and 18 RBI’s in his first taste of pro-ball. Hoes also posted some other impressive numbers in the Gulf Coast League. He showed good plate discipline walking more times than he struck out ( 30 walks to 22 strike outs ). He also displayed speed on the base paths stealing 10 bases in only 48 games.

The Orioles were impressed by Hoes professional debut earning him a promotion for 2009. He bypassed the Orioles short season Class-A team and started 2009 with the Delmarva Shorebirds in the South Atlantic League. At Delmarva, Hoes got his first taste of a full season of baseball.  Appearing in 119 games, Hoes finished the season batting .260 with 2 home runs and 47 RBI’s. While he struck out more than he walked in 2009, Hoes was still solid at the plate and continued to learn the second base position. He did not play any other position during the entire 2009 season.

To start the 2010 season Hoes was once again promoted another level and began the season as a member of the Frederick Keys. Unfortunately for Hoes he missed a month of the season with Frederick, not due to injury however, but due to coming down with a case of mononucleosis. After making a quick stop to get back into game form in Aberdeen, Hoes returned to Frederick for the remainder of the season. Over the course of the season Hoes continued to develop and put up solid numbers. In the batters box Hoes hit .290 for the season with 4 home runs and 50 RBI’s. Between his 113 hits and his 55 walks Hoes ended up finishing fifth in the entire Carolina League in on-base percentage (.375).

Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images North America

As the season came to an end and the off-season began Hoes remained in the news. Publications such as Baseball America (5th) and Baseball Prospectus (10th) continued to rank Hoes as one of the top prospects in the entire Orioles system.  Hoes was scheduled to play in the Arizona Fall League after last season ended, but an injury to his right index finger kept him from playing in the AFL. That did not stop the Orioles from giving him more good news. As spring training approached this year, Hoes was at home playing video games when he received a call from the Orioles. The reason for that call was to inform him that he would be getting invited to major league spring training. Another moment Hoes will surely never forget as he gets closer to playing at Camden Yards in front of his hometown fans.

Statistically, Hoes got off to a slow start in spring action with the major league club. He has appeared in 11 total games and recently has begun to swing a hot bat going 3 for his last 8. In a recent game on 3/26 in his only at bat against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Hoes lined a single up the middle off of Pirates left-handed reliever Tony Watson. With spring training coming to a close, Hoes will soon find out what his assignment is for 2012. Could Hoes reach Camden Yards this season? Only time will tell but we will be following his season every step of the way. Please keep checking back for updates on L.J. Hoes as well as all our featured players as they chase their dream to the major leagues.

Seven Questions with L.J. Hoes

What was it like to be drafted? What were you doing when you found out you were selected? How did you celebrate?

It was great, one of best experiences of my life. When I found out I was with my family having a cookout. I celebrated by giving my dad a big hug.

You had a choice once drafted, You could have went to college to play baseball. How hard of a choice was it and what did the Orioles do to convince you to sign with them?

It was one of the hardest decisions I had to make because it affected my future so much. I had to figure out if I was ready for professional baseball.

Growing up in Bowie, MD – Home of the Orioles Double A team, How big of a thrill was it to play in your hometown last season and the team your grew up closest too?

It was a thrill because all of my family was able to come out and watch me play. It was great being able to play in my hometown the place where I dreamed of playing when I was a kid.

The Orioles drafted you as a second baseman but you have played a number of positions including OF and 3rd Base. Has there been a coach or instructor in the system that has really helped you refine your game and learn a number of positions are the professional level?

All of my coaches have helped me develop because they have so much wisdom and advice to give about the game. Whether its positioning or different routes to take on balls or even different techniques to use when playing different positions.
Major publications such as Baseball America (#5) have rated you as one of the Orioles top ten prospects. How does that make you feel and do you think it add any pressure on you knowing that more of an eye / expectations may be placed on you by the Orioles fan base?
It’s a tremendous honor but it also let’s me know how hard I have to work to stay there because a lot more pressure has been put on me. But at the same time I can’t worry about that. I have to go out and make myself better. My goal isn’t to be in anyone’s top ten. My goal is to make it to the big leagues and have a great career.
You recently got some exciting news that you would be invited to big league training camp? Tell us how you got the news and your personal thoughts on going to big league camp for the 1st time?
I got the news I was at home playing video games and I got the call that I was coming to camp. It’s a tremendous honor to be invited to camp. It’s good for me because I will be able to be around learn things from guys such as Adam Jones who I’ve looked up too.
For fans who may not know much about you, can you tell everyone a little bit about what you bring to the table offensively and defensive every time you step on to the field?
When you come watch me play is your going to see someone who plays hard. I’m going to give it my all of defense and offense. I like to use my speed when I play. I like to create havoc and put pressure on guys to make plays. I’m not the biggest guy so I’m not going to hit 30 home runs. So my speed and doing he little things will make up for that.
  

A Few For Fun

 

Favorite baseball player growing up? Favorite non baseball athlete?

Favorite player growing up was Ken Griffey Jr. Favorite non athlete is Dwayne Wade.

What does L.J. Stand for?

LJ stands for Little Jerome my father has the same name.

As of this moment, what will be your walk up song this season when you get announced to bat?

Walk up song…I don’t know maybe Spend It by 2 Chainz.

Besides the BaySox being in Bowie best kept secret for those coming to visit your hometown?

I would have to say the Bowie town center great food and stores.

I would like to thank LJ for taking some time out of his schedule to answer some questions before the start of spring training. I look forward to following him during the 2012 season and into the future. If you don’t already please follow L.J. on twitter at @MRLJHOES2U.  Also please give us a follow for updates on L.J. and other featured players all through out the season. You can follow our site at @CTD_Sypien

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4 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Discovering Chasing The Dream.com | Bus Leagues Baseball
  2. MikeLortz.com/JordiScrubbings.com » Discovering Chasing The Dream.com
  3. Looking Back On 2012 | Chasing The Dream
  4. Opening Day | Chasing The Dream

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