Jeff Hoffman, Reds right-handed pitcher
A move the Cincinnati front office made this offseason that got little-to-no attention was the acquisition of right-handed pitchers Jeff Hoffman and Case Williams. The Reds shipped pitcher Robert Stephenson and outfield prospect Jameson Hannah to the Colorado Rockies in exchange, and while I think Williams was the best part of that trade, there’s no need to dismiss Hoffman.
Hoffman’s struggles, much like Stephenson’s, have been well documented over the years. Like Stephenson, Hoffman never lived up to his first-round potential. The Toronto Blue Jays took Hoffman with the ninth-overall pick in the 2014 MLB Draft, and the New York native has never materialized into what scouts thought he could be.
But, perhaps under Cincinnati Reds pitching coach Derek Johnson, the 28-year-old will blossom into a key part of the team’s pitching staff. While most have Jeff Hoffman ticketed for the bullpen, he’s started 38 games over his five-year career. Those five years haven’t produced much success however, as Hoffman is 8-15 in his career as a starting pitcher with a 5.80 ERA.
Could pitching in the extremely hitter-friendly atmosphere of Coors Field have contributed to Hoffman’s lack of success. Perhaps, as his home and away splits show some better numbers away from Denver’s thin air and wide-open outfield. Hoffman has a career-ERA of 7.58 while playing at Coors Field and a 4.86 ERA while pitching elsewhere.
At the end of the day, I expect the Cincinnati Reds to roll with a traditional five-man starting rotation, but these three pitchers will certainly provide depth in the bullpen if they fail to make the cut. Look for these three, along with Nick Lodolo to get stretched out this spring in an effort to give Cincinnati some depth in their starting rotation should an injury befall one of their projected starters.