Regarded as one of the best pitching prospects in the Rockies’ system, Hoffman showed the makings of why he could be a future solid four starter, or better, despite the results not falling in his favor during this viewing. Hoffman lasted just four innings, surrendering six hits and two earned runs April 16 at Tacoma.
During this outing, Hoffman struggled with his normally-average command and control profile as he tried to work ahead with his secondary stuff, and ended up missing to the fat part of the plate with his fastball when he got behind, and having it flatten up in the zone – and hitters took advantage, barreling him up frequently. Despite his struggles, he stayed composed and found a way to get outs on a day he wasn’t at his best.
He uses his 6’5’’, high-waisted frame, a shortened stride, and a high-3/4’s arm slot to create some serious downward angle and create a heavy shape to his fastball, which sat 91-to-94 mph, slightly below his usual 92-to-95 mph.
Additionally, Hoffman displayed an above-average, sharp-breaking curveball with 11-to-5 shape at 76-to-77 mph that was effective as more of a get-me-over offering. He also used a slider at 80-to-82 mph that had two-plane movement as an outpitch. At times his curveball and slider would run together with similar shape and depth. That said, this outing was an anomaly, where he seemingly lost some feel for both of his breaking balls on the night.
Hoffman also mixed in an above-average changeup with good arm action and late late arm-side fade at 84-to-86 mph. There were two occasions during this outing he executed the pitch well, down and away, but hitters came away with gork-shot base hits anyway.
Overall, Hoffman has the velocity, stuff, and pitchability to be an innings-eating number four starter for the Rockies, and a chance to be more than that if he can improve the command of his secondary offerings. At this point, it would be surprising if we didn’t see Hoffman taking a turn in the Rockies’ rotation by the All-Star break.