The Colorado Rockies‘ unbearable bullpen meltdowns are obscuring the starting rotation’s own rough season.
As of June 18, the Colorado Rockies starters were third-worst in baseball in runs allowed per game, at 5.20. They have 30 quality starts (right at league average), but first-inning struggles and their own susceptibility to implosions are cause for serious concern.
For better or worse, the Rockies have maintained the same five-man rotation for the entire season. I doubt this lasts until October. So, when the Rockies need another rotation arm — as a result of injury, consistently bad performances or both — who could take the mound as a replacement? Here are some options.
The Hoff is one of the obvious choices to step into the rotation. After joining the Rockies system in the 2015 Troy Tulowitzki trade, Hoffman made his first start on May 11, 2017, before going back to the bullpen in August.
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As a starter, Hoffman had a 5.28 ERA with a WHIP of 1.39. He impressed in his first four starts, allowing just one run in each outing, but he was never quite the same after allowing nine runs in just 3.2 innings to the Arizona Diamondbacks on June 21, 2017. The book was out on Hoffman, and he struggled mightily with command. After allowing just two home runs in his first seven starts, he allowed 11 home runs in his final nine starts.
Since being called back up on June 8, Hoffman has worked 3.2 innings. He had a strong 2018 debut on June 9, his only earned run a two-out walk that Jake McGee allowed to score. He entered the ninth inning in last night’s loss to the New York Mets and walked two batters in for runs, but the game was already a wash.
Hoffman could be a better starter in 2018. He’s showing more confidence in his slider, which he’s employed at a 31 percent rate with the Rockies this season. He’s also doing a better job inducing ground balls, which the Rockies desperately need for Coors Field success.
Right now, Hoffman is a much-needed arm in the bullpen. But he could step into the rotation once again and be a solid replacement in 2018.