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Rox net RHP, top 30 prospect for Hoffman

Local product Williams also goes to Cincinnati in deal
@harding_at_mlb
November 25, 2020

DENVER -- In a classic change-of-scenery trade for once highly regarded pitching prospects who became right-handed relievers, the Rockies received Robert Stephenson from the Reds in exchange for Jeff Hoffman. Also, the Rockies received left-handed-hitting outfield prospect Jameson Hannah, their new No. 14 prospect, while sending to Cincinnati righty Case

DENVER -- In a classic change-of-scenery trade for once highly regarded pitching prospects who became right-handed relievers, the Rockies received Robert Stephenson from the Reds in exchange for Jeff Hoffman.

Also, the Rockies received left-handed-hitting outfield prospect Jameson Hannah, their new No. 14 prospect, while sending to Cincinnati righty Case Williams -- drafted this summer in the fourth round out of Douglas County (Colo.) High School.

Stephenson, who turns 28 on Feb. 24, was the Reds' first-round Draft pick (27th overall) in 2011. He started 22 of his first 37 Major League appearances from 2016-18 before converting to the bullpen in '19. That year, Stephenson went 3-2 with a 3.76 ERA across 57 appearances with 81 strikeouts in 64 2/3 innings. But in '20, he battled a mid-back strain and finished with a 9.90 ERA in 10 appearances.

"We like what we've seen in the bullpen, in a lot of ways," Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich said. "Are there certain ways he can improve? Yeah, just like everybody. Other things that you'll probably need to do out of the bullpen to become more consistent, which I have to imagine is what he is in search of as well."

The Rockies have long kept an eye on Stephenson. Bridich said he and assistant general manager Zach Wilson watched him pitch against the Rockies at the Class A level. Stephenson has a 0.61 ERA in five big league appearances against Colorado, including a seven-inning, three-hit start while allowing one run in Cincinnati on April 19, 2016 -- a 4-3 Reds win.

Hoffman, who turns 28 on Jan. 8, was selected ninth overall by the Blue Jays in 2014 and was a key figure in the trade that sent star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki to Toronto before the '15 Trade Deadline.

Hoffman went 10-16 with a 6.40 ERA in 68 games (38 starts) for the Rockies from 2016-20. The Rockies converted him to full-time relief duty in '20 and he had a 0.93 ERA in his first five appearances. However, the consistency didn’t hold, and he finished with a 9.28 ERA in 16 appearances.

The Rockies added to their outfield mix with Hannah, 23, whom the Athletics drafted in the second round of the 2018 Draft before sending him to the Reds for veteran pitcher Tanner Roark. According to the MLB Pipeline scouting report, Hannah is a gap-to-gap hitter with an advanced approach. His speed allows him to cover ground as a defender.

"I've been impressed with him since his college days at Dallas Baptist -- obviously, a high Draft pick, highly thought-of in the industry," Bridich said. "He's really a quality hitter. A good swing -- clean, repeatable, simple swing."

Outfield is an area that the Rockies were seeking prospect depth. No. 4 prospect Ryan Villade, who was drafted as a third baseman but has received increased outfield duty over the last year in instructional ball and at the alternate training site, is the only outfielder among the team’s top 10 prospects.

Rockies' Top 30 Prospects list

Williams, 18, was the top-rated Colorado pitcher by Perfect Game and Prep Baseball Report. The Reds were poised to draft Williams this past Draft, but their turn was three spots behind the Rockies.

Pirates claim Goudeau
The Pirates claimed Rockies right-hander Ashton Goudeau off waivers on Wednesday. Goudeau, 28, designated for assignment last week as Colorado set its 40-man roster, made his Major League debut in 2020 and posted a 7.56 ERA in four relief appearances.

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb and like his Facebook page.