Jeff Hoffman started last season strong; carrying a 6-1 record through mid-July. The second half of the season, however, was not as kind to Hoffman, as he finished the 2017 campaign with a 6-5 record.

When Hoffman thrived, it was due to his great command in the strike zone. His struggles to get strikes — and wins — as the season went on were mainly due to his lack of control. In an interview with Sean Walsh on Mile High Sports AM 1340 | FM 104.7, Hoffman said, “This offseason was really [used] to refine my fastball command, and just to get that more consistent — to get that where I want that to be, because I really feel the key for me is [this]: if I can command my fastball, I can pitch with anybody, and I can pitch to any lineup and really give my team a chance to win.”

In the 2015 trade of Troy Tulowitzki to Toronto, which included infielder Jose Reyes and prospect pitchers in return, Hoffman was the centerpiece. The 6’5” 200-pound pitcher is known for a four-seam fastball that can hit 99 miles per hour; complimented by an excellent curve ball.

In another year or two, Hoffman could very well be in contention for the top of the rotation, but for now, he’ll most likely be competing for a spot near the bottom of it. Hoffman has personal goals this season of being able to “get up around the 10-to-15 win range” in order to help the Rockies win more, and said, “I really believe we only scratched the surface last year. Moving forward here, you’re going to see, hopefully, some more consistency — and we’re going to get stronger throughout the year… We all have a significant amount of innings under our belt now, so I think we are looking up this year and are really excited.”

The Rockies currently have seven starting pitchers competing for five spots in the rotation. Of those seven pitchers, only two who seem to be locks to be in the 2018 rotation – Jon Gray and German Marquez. Having seven players competing for five spots, however, is a good problem for the Rockies to have; each of the seven players proved last season that when they’re given the opportunity, they can pitch in the big leagues and help the Rockies win.

With a full season under his belt, look for Hoffman to come out throwing hard and with better command this season. If Hoffman can live up to his own expectations, he’ll help establish the Rockies’ pitching staff as one of the best in the National League; one that will give hitters trouble every night.

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Catch Sean Walsh every weekday from 2p-4p on Mile High Sports AM 1340 | FM 104.7 or stream live any time for the best local coverage of Colorado sports from Denver’s biggest sports talk lineup. Download the all-new, free Mile High Sports Radio mobile app for Apple or Android.