Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Homegrown Hofmann eyes future in MLB

By Darren Steinke
Gordie Howe Sports Complex


Logan Hofmann signs a ball for a young player in Saskatoon.
When Logan Hofmann started playing baseball out in his hometown of Muenster, Sask., it was all about the joy of just being on the diamonds.

The notion of becoming a Major League Baseball draft selection or going to the elite levels of the sport didn’t cross his mind until high school.

“Growing up, I just played it, because it was fun,” said Hofmann. “It never really was a thought of mine to play professional baseball, because I was a big hockey player too growing up.

“I thought I was better at hockey pretty much my whole life until about Grade 10. That is when I thought that if I keep improving in baseball I can eventually go to college and then from there have success in college and then move on to the professional ranks.”

The right-handed pitcher played for Saskatchewan’s provincial team as part of an extremely successful run from 2015 to 2017. 

Saskatchewan won silver at the Baseball Canada Cup played at the Gordie Howe Sports Complex in 2015, gold at the Baseball Canada Cup held in 2016 in Fort McMurray, Alta., and at the Canada Summer Games in 2017 in Winnipeg.

The standout with the Muenster Red Sox program also played catcher and shortstop, when he wasn’t taking turns on the hill.

Logan Hofmann pitching for Saskatchewan. 
(Photo courtesy Baseball Saskatchewan) 
After graduating high school, Hofmann pitched two seasons for Colby Community College in Colby, Kansas. Following his second season, Hofmann was selected in the 35th round and 1,055th overall by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2019 MLB Draft.

Hofmann elected to not to sign with the Cardinals deciding to play for the Northwestern State University Demons baseball team in Natchitoches, Louisiana, in the NCAA Division I ranks. That allowed him to keep developing his pitching stills and re-enter the MLB Draft.

In the MLB Draft that was held on June 11, Hofmann was selected in the fifth round and 138th overall by the Pittsburgh Pirates. He signed a rookie contact with the Pirates on June 27.

The 20-year-old said it was a thrill to be picked in the MLB Draft and to be able to sign with the Pirates so quickly after the draft.

“It kind of just seals the deal,” said Hofmann, who stands 5-foot-10 and weighs 190 pounds. “It is official.

“It is kind of the same thing as getting drafted. It is a great feeling, and I guess kind of a big accomplishment to say that you’ve signed now, and you’re ready to get your minor league career started.”

While he is gaining big opportunities in the game, Hofmann never forgets his Saskatchewan roots. When he returns home after completing his post-secondary season, he can usually be found on the diamonds in Muenster or around the province helping younger players.

Logan Hofmann played shortstop and catcher growing up.
(Photo courtesy Baseball Saskatchewan)
Hofmann enjoys helping the generation coming up.

“It is just good to give back just to see I guess some of the young talent we have in Saskatchewan,” said Hofmann, who credits his father, Chad, on being the biggest influence in helping him in the game growing up. “I just want to help them be the best player and person they can be.”

Hofmann has good memories playing with Saskatchewan’s provincial program. He remembers winning silver at the 2015 Baseball Canada Cup in Saskatoon as being a big thing as Saskatchewan had won just one medal – a silver in 2011- in 18 years previous at that event.

“Going in it was kind of we were hosting it, and if we do good, that would be cool,” said Hofmann. “I don’t think anybody really expected us to go as far as we did.

“Obviously, we faced B.C. in the final, and they were really, really good that year. I think still even a silver medal for Saskatchewan and we were hosting it was really awesome to see.”

Ultimately, Hofmann thought that silver medal finish paved the way for Saskatchewan’s gold medal wins in 2016 and 2017.

Logan Hofmann, left, likes coaching baseball camp in Saskatchewan.
“I think it set up really well,” said Hofmann. “I knew we had a good age group for those couple of years there going into each tournament.

“A silver medal, it is tough to build off of, but at the same time, one more win and you have gold.”

Greg Brons, who is the high performance director for Baseball Saskatchewan, said what Hofmann has been able to accomplish is inspiring for young players in the province.

“It gives kids the idea that if they work hard the ultimate dream of playing the game professionally can really happen,” said Brons. “Logan is someone players in minor baseball in Saskatchewan can really look up to.

“When he is in the city he often comes back to workout with our academy players and our players benefit from his success as he puts Saskatchewan on the baseball map.”

Brons said it is special when Hofmann comes back to the province and helps out the younger generation.

“It is no surprise that he is willing to do this,” said Brons. “He is a typical athlete from Saskatchewan – raised right and wanting to give back.

Logan Hofmann has his sights set on an MLB future.
“(He) comes from a great community (Muenster) where they support youth sports, and I think this is just the Saskatchewan way – I have seen athletes in all sports giving back. This is why Saskatchewan is such a great province. People like Logan never forget where they came from.”

Hofmann developed strong command of four pitches in his fastball, change-up, curveball and slider. He aims to keep fine tuning all aspects of his game looking towards spring training in 2021.

“I am just getting stronger and also focusing on the mental game of baseball now too just because it is such a big part of it,” said Hofmann. “I am kind of improving everything a little bit every day and just working to prepare for next year.”