The Colorado Rockies broke news yesterday when they made the move to call up their top pitching prospect, Jeff Hoffman, to start in Saturday’s game against the Chicago Cubs.

Hoffman, the centerpiece of the Troy Tulowitzki trade, will be making his MLB debut against the best team in the National League.

Hoffman has had an interesting season in the minors, owning a record of 6-9 with an ERA of 4.02 in 22 games at Triple-A Albuquerque. Apparently, that was enough to earn him a ticket to the big leagues.

Manager Walt Weiss, though, acknowledges that it will be a tough road ahead for the young pitcher.

“Into the fire, but we feel like Jeff can handle it,” Weiss told Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post. “He’s got plenty of stuff. It’s plus stuff, even at the major-league level. He can navigate lineups with his stuff alone. I feel like he’s ready for this. You’ve got to start your career at some point, and his is going to be tomorrow.”

But why now? Well, here are some possible explanations.

The team believes they are contenders 

The call up of Hoffman could be considered a “win-now” move due to the fact that he was the team’s top pitching prospect. As it stands, the Rockies sit 6.5 games out of a Wild Card spot, so the playoff aren’t entirely out of reach with more than a month to play.

Hoffman could be the power arm the Rox are hoping pushes their rotation over the top. Mix him with Jon Gray at the top of the rotation, and you got yourself a couple of bright, growing, powerful arms to lead the charge towards the home stretch of the season.

They want Hoffman to get some exposure prior to his first full season

Similar to Jon Gray last year, the Rox could be calling up Hoffman to give him some experience under his belt before his first full trip around the league next season. Gray struggled in his short time in the bigs last year, owning a record of 0-2 with an ERA of 5.53; however, he has responded nicely in his sophomore season, posting a record of 8-6 with an ERA of 4.69.

The Rockies may try to mimic what they did with Gray with Hoffman. It worked out well for Jon, so maybe it will pay dividends for Jeff, too.

He’s ready

Simply put, Hoffman might just be ready.

And if he is, he could be a big building block in solidifying Colorado’s rotation for years to come. We know Jon Gray, Tyler Anderson and Tyler Chatwood are going to be in the Rox rotation moving forward. Throw Hoffman in there and you got four of the five slots in the rotation filled, with the fifth likely to be awarded to Kyle Freelnad when his time comes.

Easily, this is the most promising pitching staff the Rockies have had in a long time.