Jeff Hoffman is an enigma. As the centerpiece of the trade that sent Troy Tulowitzki to Toronto, he has shown both flashes of greatness and atrociousness while bouncing up and down from Triple-A to the majors. His playing time has been as inconsistent as his pitching, but Jeff is working to take a big step forward in 2019 and secure his position in the team’s plans for the future—the big question, of course, is can he breakthrough?
Aniello Piro of Mile High Sports writes about Hoffman’s potential path to the Rockies rotation this season, as well as Jeff’s offseason work at Driveline (where Adam Ottavino trained prior to his breakout 2018) that has supposedly fixed his mechanics and given more life to his fastball again. Piro argues that outside of Freeland and Marquez there are only question marks in the rotation long-term, and if Hoffman pitches well he can still add his name to an incredible young core of pitching talent setting up shop at Coors Field.
Speaking of Kyle Freeland and German Marquez, it’s pretty much a given that one of these two aces will start on Opening Day. Bud Black is still keeping his lips sealed, but as Carrie Muskat writes, Freeland has a great opportunity to earn the privilege. He set a franchise record for ERA in a season and was fourth in NL Cy Young voting, but most of all, he hasn’t let pitching at altitude affect him. Kyle’s home ERA (2.40) was actually better than on the road (3.23)—but that might be an argument for him to pitch the home opener instead...
Plus, if you’re into caring about Spring Training stats (I’ve heard some of you are), Freeland has arguably out-performed Marquez this spring. Kyle has an ERA of 3.95 in 13.2 IP, and has only walked three batters while striking out 16. After a tough outing against the Angels last night, Marquez has an 8.03 ERA in 12.1 IP, has walked six and struck out 15. Then again, it might not mean anything, and both pitchers would deserve the honor of being no. 1.
Our friend Tyler Maun—one of the fine hosts of the Purple Dinosaur Podcast—wrote this in-depth article about Riley Pint, the Rockies first-round draft pick in 2016, a “phenom” at the time who currently sits as the club’s 8th best prospect.
Pint is best known around these parts as the kid with an incredible fastball who hasn’t delivered on his incredible potential, but Riley is happy to “fly under the radar” and get back to the basics. He was also plagued by injury and has only pitched 8.1 innings since August of 2017, so Riley is ready to get back into his routine this spring, stay healthy, and prove he’s more than just a flash in the pan.
Another friend of the Row, Drew Creasman, is in Arizona following the Rockies this spring and has some great soundbites from Kyle Freeland, Jon Gray, Bud Black, Peter Lambert, and more in his latest “Inside the Clubhouse.” Give it a listen and hear from the players and manager themselves on a variety of topics regarding the upcoming season and how Spring Training is going so far.
In a somewhat expected turn of events, Nolan Arenado found himself back in the third spot in the lineup yesterday after spending every game this spring batting second. It was a total of 15 games, and prior to that, Nolan only hit second in a meager 23 regular season games. Thomas Harding of MLB.com talked to Nolan about the lineup experiment so far and the star third baseman wasn’t shy sharing his feelings about it. Most importantly, Nolan says, he has found his swing, is comfortable hitting again, and is ready for the season to begin.
In an exclusive chat with BSN Denver’s Ryan Koenigsberg, Nolan Arenado discuss his newest favorite t-shirt—a Denver Nuggets City Edition tee—and what makes it so special to him. Nolan banters with Koenigsberg about basketball, his favorite Denver hoops player, the thriving Denver sports scene, and more. It’s lighthearted, fun, and a better look at Nolan the person instead of just Nolan the ballplayer.
It’s Wade Davis.
All right, fine. It’s a useful article to get a quick look at every team’s closer situation heading into the 2019 season. It’s pretty straight-forward for the Rockies, who will have Davis returning for his second year as the club’s bullpen anchor. He set a franchise record for saves in a season last year, despite his 4.13 ERA, and looks to have a lock on the high leverage role. If there’s any threat to Wade’s role as the closer, it’s Scott Oberg who had a fantastic 2018 and has carried that success over to this season, too.
For your daily dose of Ryan McMahon and Garrett Hampson discussion, Craig Edwards of FanGraphs has their 2019 Positional Power Rankings for second base, and the Rockies fall in at 24th place (click here for an explanation of their projections and rankings). McMahon is projected to have an fWAR advantage over Hampson (1.3 to 0.6), and his hot spring is backing it up. Craig also points out that a platoon is not going to help either candidate, as both infielders will need consistent playing time and at-bats to settle into their role.