At least one positive has come from Luke Hochevar’s injury – Wade Davis has been sent back to the bullpen.
Davis, who was part of the competition for the Royals fifth starter spot, has been sent back to the bullpen by Ned Yost to make up for the loss to Hochevar. Despite having Davis as part of the competition, the decision to send Davis back to the bullpen was an easy one for Yost.
“He’s a dominant factor down there for us,” Yost said. “Once we lost Hoch, it became apparent to me that his presence was sorely needed down there.”
While Wade Davis may not actually be a ‘dominant factor,’ he is certainly much better as a reliever than as a starter. Over his career, Davis has a 4.57 ERA and a 1.452 WHiP as a starter, compared to a 2.24 ERA and a 1.046 WHiP as a reliever. Last year, the splits were more dramatic, as Davis was a disaster as a starter, posting a 5.67 ERA and a 1.755 WHiP. Somehow, despite all evidence that Davis just is not a good starter, he pitched 125.1 innings in that role in 2013. Meanwhile, in his 10 innings in relief, Davis posted a 0.90 ERA and a 0.700 WHiP.
Yes, that is a small sample size. And that argument would certainly be viable if Davis had not proved throughout his career that he simply just should not be anywhere near the starting rotation. Yet, despite the obvious nature of that statement, Davis kept getting chances to to be an instant rally starter for the opposition. Fortunately, it seems that Ned Yost and the Royals have come to their senses, for 2014 at least.
The injury for Luke Hochevar was unfortunate, and robbed the Royals of a pitcher who performed quite well in the bullpen last year. However, that same injury will, if nothing else, keep Wade Davis out of the starting rotation.