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We’re still not sure what to make of Jeff Hoffman

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The right-handed reliever had early success, but struggled down the stretch

Welcome to the 2020 edition of Ranking the Rockies, where we take a look back at every player to log playing time for the Rockies in 2020. 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 lowest rWAR and end up with the player with the highest.

★ ★ ★

No. 38, Jeff Hoffman: -0.9 rWAR

Good news for Jeff Hoffman: he seems to have finally found his role as a long reliever.

After initially contending with Chi Chi González for the fifth starter position in spring training, Hoffman was relegated to the bullpen. Right out of the gate, Hoffman had success, only allowing one run through his first five appearances. Hoffman was also part of the quartet that combined for the one-hitter against the Seattle Mariners during Ryan Castellani’s debut.

Through his first five appearances, Hoffman allowed one earned run on three hits, walked two batters, and struck out nine in 9 23 innings. That gave him a shiny 0.93 ERA through five starts.

Bad news for Jeff Hoffman: he, like much of the Rockies relieving corp, left much to be desired down the stretch.

After those first five outings, Hoffman became inconsistent. His worst outing came in that sixth game against the Astros on August 19, in which he allowed his season-high five runs in just 23 of an inning. But two games later, he earned his first career save against the Diamondbacks on August 26. In that outing, he faced just two batters in 13 of an inning — walking one and striking out the other.

The inconsistency was highlighted in the fact that Hoffman alternated between allowing one run and allowing three or more runs. His combined ERA was 16.20 in appearances after August 19, and he finished with an 9.28 ERA and 1.922 WHIP in 16 total appearances.

Hoffman was the ninth overall pick in 2014 and the centerpiece of the Troy Tulowitzki trade in 2015, and still has yet to live up to his potential. In addition, he is out of minor league options. 2020 seemed to be the year that he might finally break out, but at the end of it, we’re still not sure what to make of Jeff Hoffman.