Hard-throwing righthanded pitching prospect Jeff Hoffman lost his chance to be a top-four pick in next month's MLB draft of amateurs after news hit that Hoffman needed Tommy John surgery, but scouting directors still suggest it's possible he could be a first-round pick, and possibly even a top-10/15 pick.

Scouting directors also suggested that teams with multiple high picks might be more likely to use a pick on Hoffman, who still is seen as having a high ceiling but will come with the small question of surgery results. The situation is akin to highly-regarded righthander Lucas Giolito, who was picked No. 16 overall as aprep pitcher two drafts ago by the Nationals due to a concern over a UCL that required Tommy John surgery as well.

Hoffman, who has been clocked at 98 mph, and features an excellent changeup and two curveballs and had a 2.94 at East Carolina University, previously was considered to be among the top four prospects for the first-year draft, along with North Carolina State lefthander Carlos Rodon and high school pitchers Brady Aiken and Tyler Kolek, before being sideline for the year. Keith Law of ESPn first reported the necessity of the surgery.

Now instead, some mid-round opportunists may be eying Hoffman, a 21-year-old from the Albany, N.Y. area, though he could fall to later in the first round or possibly the second round..

“A team that really liked him and wouldn't have had a chance to get him may jump on this. They may look at as a chance for a big positive or win,” one NL scouting director said.

Two scouting directors speculated that teams with two or more top picks might be more inclined to take the small chance (and also have the extra draft dollars to spend). While Tommy John surgery has become extremely commonplace and is assumed to carry a low risk based on a very positive history, one scouting director mentioned that a couple pitchers had some loss of command after the operation, though typically pitchers return without complication after a first Tommy John surgery.