You’re reading the 2018 edition of Ranking the Rockies, where we take a look back at the season had by every player to play for the Rockies in 2018. The purpose of this list is to provide a snapshot of the player in context. The “Ranking” is an organizing principle that’s drawn from Baseball Reference’s WAR (rWAR). It’s not something the staff debated. We’ll begin with the player with the least amount of rWAR and end up with the player with the most.
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No. 28, Jeff Hoffman (-0.2 rWAR)
It’s been more than three years since Jeff Hoffman was, as the only top 100 prospect of the three pitchers, the centerpiece of the Troy Tulowitzki trade. It hasn’t been a smooth ride since then, and 2018 may have been the most discouraging season yet.
Hoffman pitched just 8 2⁄3 innings across six appearances and two separate call-ups, both caused by injuries to other pitchers. His first call-up came in June after Mike Dunn went to the 60-day DL. Hoffman made five relief appearances. The second time the Rockies called him up was in July to replace Antonio Senzatela, who went on the 10-day disabled list. His major league season came to an unceremonious end on July 13 after he pitched 3 1⁄3 innings in a spot start against the Mariners.
He didn’t pitch well in those innings either. The 9.35 ERA can maybe be small sample sized away, but Hoffman also walked nearly 16% of the batters he faced. His command was worse in 2018 than in the past, and it wasn’t really that great before. It’s also likely that Hoffman’s peak in terms of fastball velocity has already come and gone, as he sits around 93 mph as opposed to the 95 we saw from him two years ago.
To make matters worse, Hoffman wasn’t good in Triple-A either. He posted a 4.94 ERA over 105 2⁄3 innings. He struck out 8.7 batters and walked four per nine innings as a starter. Hoffman now finds himself pretty low on the Rockies’ depth chart, and he’s more likely to be called upon to take bullpen innings rather than start games.
There’s still time to right the ship though. Hoffman will be 26 years old when spring training rolls around. For comparison, Tyler Anderson was 26 when he had his breakout season in 2016 — and he didn’t even throw a pitch in 2015.
The hope for Hoffman to be a frontline starter is basically gone now. But while Hoffman didn’t provide any value to the 2018 Rockies, it remains too soon to write him off entirely.