Today, I realized I can no longer do this. I can’t be hopelessly optimistic about someone who has given me little in return to back up my optimism. I was never a fan of the Luke Hochevar pick in the 2006 draft, but I sucked it up and tried to find a reason to like the pick and give my support for Hochevar. First, let me state that Hochevar should have never been the 1st overall pick and because of his selection there, he is going to be the most scrutinized player from that draft. It’s also hard to swallow that Evan Longoria, Clayton Kershaw, and Tim Lincecum were all top ten picks that year as well, and were passed on.
While Hochevar hasn’t been bad every time out, what makes him so frustrating to watch, is the fact he is one of the most inconsistent pitchers in the game. He’s had days of complete game shutouts and then he’ll turn around and have an outing like the home opener onslaught that a sold out crowd witnessed earlier this year at Kauffman Stadium. A starter needs to be consistent, something Hochevar is not. Yeah, Bruce Chen won’t dominate a line up but you can expect 6 innings and 2-3 runs every time he toes the rubber. There’s peace of mind knowing what to expect from your starter on any given day.
That being said it really is time to at least scan around for other options to start in place of Hochevar and Jonathan Sanchez. I’m not sure how much longer their leash is, but it can’t be too long. Sanchez and Hochevar combined have went past 5 innings only twice thus far this season. Hochevar is now the 6th worst pitcher in MLB history according to ERA that includes pitchers with over 100 starts. That’s an interesting piece of information that can be found here* along with the rest of the top, or should I say bottom, ten. I tend to get a sick feeling in my stomach every time it’s Sanchez’s turn in the rotation. I know 5 walks and 3 innings is very likely. These two make watching the Royals a nauseating task. Normally, I’m not this down on the Royals, but I hate seeing the starting pitching give these types of performances.
*It’s interesting to note Kyle Davies is right in front of Hochevar on this list.
Therefore, there may come a time relatively soon where a change has to be made. Ryan Verdugo, Nate Adcock, and Everett Teaford are all guys I truly believe can give us a quality start just about every time out. The most important things a starter can do is keep the team in the game and go deep in the game to preserve the bullpen arms throughout the season. Jake Odorizzi is also an intriguing name that I’d love to see in Kansas City at some point during the season.
I really don’t like giving up on a player, but it appears as though Hochevar is not capable of overcoming his blow up inning more times than not. I believe there is a lack of focus there, even though no one will come out and say that. I’m sure he prepares himself very well and puts in the time and effort, but there is something with the mental side of his game that is just not adding up. A guy with the repertoire of pitches that Hochevar sports should not be nearly this inconsistent and should be a top of the rotation starter. It’s just very frustrating to continue to watch him and anticipate his blow up inning.
All I’m hoping for is this doesn’t continue. Whether Hochevar and Sanchez figure out a few things and can pitch deeper into a game or Ned Yost finally makes a move and replaces one or both of them with a few candidates I mentioned earlier, something will need to change. The starting pitching is the weak spot of the team but that doesn’t mean you can’t make changes to try and produce different outcomes. These two are certainly not cutting it.
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