Colorado Rockies: Where does Jeff Hoffman fit into the 2019 plans?

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DENVER, CO - AUGUST 17: Starting pitcher Jeff Hoffman #34 of the Colorado Rockies looks toward first base in the fourth inning at Coors Field on August 17, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. Atlanta won 10-4. (Photo by Joe Mahoney/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - AUGUST 17: Starting pitcher Jeff Hoffman #34 of the Colorado Rockies looks toward first base in the fourth inning at Coors Field on August 17, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. Atlanta won 10-4. (Photo by Joe Mahoney/Getty Images) /
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Colorado Rockies right-hander Jeff Hoffman made his 2019 spring debut on Saturday to the tune of a 97-mph fastball.

Jeff Hoffman threw two innings against the Arizona Diamondbacks and allowed a hit and struck out one. In 30 pitches, the 26-year-old showed everyone what we already knew … his stuff is electric and can make a big impact for the Colorado Rockies.

The gas or his devastating curveball have never been in question … but the 2014 first-rounder’s control has been. It’s the reason why he ended his third partial season in the bigs, 2018, with just 8.2 innings complete while being charged nine runs to his name — mainly due to seven walks.

This was in stark contrast to his 2017 season where he threw just under 100 innings with a barely sub-6.00 ERA. This might not sound great, but it was highlighted by a four-start stretch that saw Hoffman throw 25 innings and allow a sick four runs, propelling his club to a win in each appearance.

The midseason Hoffman from 2017 was the one the Rockies thought they were getting when they acquired the New York native from the Toronto Blue Jays in the Troy Tulowitzki trade. Since those few starts, he’s bounced back and forth from Triple-A and the bullpen. In a very small amount of time, the bullpen experiment has been a blunder and the highly talented pitcher seems bored by the mound in Albuquerque.

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Now Hoffman still has an option left, meaning he could very well pitch for a fourth straight year for the Isotopes.

General Manager Jeff Bridich praised that talent at the Winter Meetings but in the same breath called Hoffman a man now and that it was up to him, perhaps hinting at some frustration from both sides.

The big league bullpen seems crowded and given there are six starters clearly ahead of him — Kyle Freeland, German Marquez, Jon Gray, Tyler Anderson, Chad Bettis and Antonio Senzatela — it’s quite unclear where Hoffman fits right now.

Next. Our exclusive chat with Hoffman about the changes he made this offseason. dark

One thing is clear, if Hoffman is to be a Rockie long-term, he needs to take the next opportunity he gets and run with it like he did in June of 2017. He still has the talent he always has.

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