College Pitcher Jason Hoppe Sets Single Season Scoreless Inning Record

Jason Hoppe, a right-hander for NCAA Division II Minnesota State, just set the NCAA record for consecutive scoreless innings pitched in a season at 55.1, breaking the record of SIU-Edwardsville right-hander Kyle Jones, who threw 54 scoreless innings in 2006.  The overall scoreless innings record of 60 was set over two seasons by Vermont’s George Plender in 1954-5.

St. Edwards scored off Hoppe in the fourth inning of yesterday’s game ending Hoppe’s streak.  However, Minnesota State won the game 6-5 to advance to the team’s first ever Division II National Championship game.

Hoppe finishes the season, his junior year campaign, with an 8-1 record, a 1.26 ERA, and a pitching line of 92.2 IP, 67 hits, zero HRs and 24 walks allowed and 99 Ks.  With numbers like those, you would expect him to be drafted by a major league organization next month.

Not necessarily.  George Plender never played professional baseball, at least according to baseballreference.com’s records, and Kyle Jones’ professional career was limited to six relief appearances in the Independent A Frontier League, just about the lowest level of professional baseball, in 2010.

Also, working against Hoppe is the fact that his body (he’s listed by Minnesota State as 6’1″ and 165 lbs — an article yesterday says he currently weighs 170 and hopes to put on an additional 15 pounds for his senior season) isn’t what major league organizations look for in their right-handed pitchers.  However, reports are that Hoppe’s fastball can hit 92 mph and has “impeccable control” of his curveball and change-up.  Needless to say, Hoppe has big league dreams.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find all of Hoppe’s stats from his freshman or sophomore seasons.  However, Hoppe went 8-1 in 2012 and pitched extremely well in three post-season tournament games — three complete games in which he allowed a total of three runs and struck out 36), including a complete game shutout in which he struck out 10 in the 2012 NCAA Division II National Championship Tournament.

If I had to guess and based on the information above, I’d say Hoppe will be drafted somewhere between the 5th and 15th rounds in this June’s draft.  Then, he’ll have to decide whether or not to sign or return to Minnesota State for his senior season.

For what it’s worth, four Minnesota State alums have played in the major leagues: Bob Will, Jerry Terrell, Gary Mielke, and Todd Revenig.  Not exactly great ballplayers, but they all managed to get their mugs on Topps baseball cards, which are shown on Minnesota State’s baseball website.

In another semi-related tidbit, the all-time single season record for scoreless innings pitched in NCAA Division I baseball is held by Todd Helton, when he pitched 47 consecutive scoreless innings, mostly as a closer for Tennessee back in 1994.

Clearly, the Rockies made the right decision when they took Helton with the 8th pick of the 1995 draft and developed him exclusively as a slugging 1Bman.  However, I find it disappointing that Helton has not pitched in even one game in his professional career.  It just seems like a waste of an exceptional baseball talent.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Baseball History, Denver Rockies, Minnesota Twins

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