What to do with Luke Hochevar?
The Kansas City Star
In Sunday’s column, the Royals got compared to the Titanic and we tried to get closer to the question about who these guys really are.
Among the points — and, please, take a look if you have time — was Luke Hochevar having the eighth-worst ERA of any pitcher with 100 or more starts since 1901.
I regret to inform you that stat is incorrect.
Well, actually, it was correct when the column ran. But then Hochevar pitched again, seven runs including a grand slam over 2 1/3 innings yesterday pushing his season ERA to 9.00, his career ERA to 5.46, and his all-time stink ranking to sixth.
Hochevar has started six games this season, and has given up seven or more runs in half of them. He’s actually been really good in the other three — three runs and 18 baserunners in 17 2/3 innings — but waiting for the gunshot is no way to go through life.
The symbolism here is a particularly bad look for the #OurTimers, the only No. 1 overall pick in franchise history getting bombed when the franchise desperately needs starting pitching and finally feels close to competing.
You know it’s bad when your boy Tod Palmer is doing the game story and has to write the following sentence: “Yost said injury concerns and tipping pitches could be crossed off the list of culprits for Hochevar’s struggles.”
Some of you have written in already wanting Hochevar to be cut. Others just for him to be sent to the minors, one guy proposed the Royals trade him back to the Fort Worth Cats for a package that I believe centered around a bag of balls. Alas, none of that is happening.
Yost also seemed to indicate Hochevar would stay in the rotation going forward, and part of the equation is whether the Royals have anyone they feel confident taking the spot. But at some point — and that point is one disaster start closer than it was before yesterday — the Royals will face a decision about whether to try Hochevar out in the bullpen.
On the surface, it might sound like a crazy idea. He’s generally struggled to limit big innings, of course, and hasn’t been good with runners on base. But maybe something could click out of the bullpen, maybe things would simplify, maybe that could get his confidence.
Anyway, just a thought.