Fans have come to expect the Rockies’ starting pitchers to be the team’s downfall. But, a closer look shows consistent improvements, even if it’s not helping the win column. Tuesday night after a shaky start Eddie Butler settled down to pitch six solid innings. The night before, Tyler Chatwood gave up just one hit in eight innings. Meanwhile, Jon Gray continues to improve on the path to becoming the Rockies’ ace.

“There’s enough talent [in the rotation] to eventually be a contender,” writer Thomas Harding told Gil Whiteley on Mile High Sports AM 1340 | FM 104.7.

With Jorge De La Rosa shipped to the bullpen, the young pitchers are starting to prove themselves. There are several more in the farm system waiting to be called up.

Biggest Lineup Stream AdAt the top of this list is Jeff Hoffman. Acquired in the Troy Tulowitzki trade, Hoffman has a 2.67 ERA in 11 starts for the Triple-A Albuquerque Isotopes. Other pitchers making waves in the minors include Kyle Freeland and Antonio Senzatela, both with Double-A Hartford. Freeland, a Thomas Jefferson (Denver) product, has 41 strikeouts in 11 starts and opposing batters are hitting .235 against him. Senzatela is 3-1 with a 2.45 ERA in five starts.

All three are expected to join the Rockies late in the season, similar to Gray in 2015. Harding, however, sees benefits in an earlier call up for Hoffman.

“Have a start where he’s just allowed to pitch and then maybe send him back down,” Harding suggests.

Instead of enforcing a strict pitch count in August or September, letting him loose for a game would be a good litmus test for both Hoffman and the Rockies.

The safe route is to keep all three in the minors until the Rockies are well out of the playoff race, then strictly monitoring their innings at the big league level.

While the club will not be calling up these young pitchers anytime soon, it’s another sign of encouragement for fans. Between an improving rotation and a few studs in the farm system, the future of the Rockies pitching is looking bright – or at least brighter.

For the full interview, including a discussion of Nolan Arenado’s blooming star power, click the link below…

Catch Gil Whiteley every weekday from 11a-1p on Mile High Sports AM 1340 or FM 104.7, or stream live any time for the best local coverage of Colorado sports from Denver’s biggest sports talk lineup.