Why Not Aaron Crow?
By Brian Henry
Aaron Crow was a first round draft pick. Aaron Crow was supposed to be a starter. Aaron Crow has some pretty good stuff and even some local ties. Why does Luke Hochevar get an infinitely long leash while Crow is banished to the bullpen forever?
Last spring was supposed to be a shot for Aaron Crow, after having some success in the bullpen, to pull a Greinke and get back to being a starter. When the Royals broke camp Crow was back in the bullpen despite a truly dismal starting rotation of Bruce Chen, Luke Hochevar, Jonathan Sanchez, Felipe Paulino, and Danny Duffy. The loss of Joakim Soria seemed to scare them more than Jonathan Sanchez’s control problems, which in hindsight is hard to believe. It is possible that the Royals made the right choice since Sanchez had just been traded for and was not expected to be the disaster that he was. Paulino and Duffy were legitimately exciting as far as potential (and still are), and Chen and Hochevar had done enough the previous year to warrant a look. Still, it never seemed like Crow got a real chance to get back in the rotation mix.
Then the season started, and Hochevar summed up is career on opening day by taking the wind out of the sails of the team and fan base in one inning. By the end of the year the only thing being talked about was how badly the Royals needed starting pitching, but there was never a mention of Aaron Crow. He is only 26, and will be this entire year, and there is no reason he could not have been given a shot. We know he can get guys out from the bullpen, just like Wade Davis who has shown up and been handed his spot over deserving players like Luis Mendoza despite being older and also needing to go to the bullpen to have success.
At this point the only argument I can come up for Luke Hochevar is that he is not the strongest mentally, and trying to be the “ace” ever since being called up has been a problem for him. Now that he is the 5th starter and James Shields is here, Luke can relax and do his thing. Other than that it just seems like the Royals took him number one overall and they will not be proven wrong. All Dayton would have had to say was that the draft in 2006 happened as the team was being passed off to him. This doesn’t have to be his guy unless David Glass knows otherwise. Crow is certainly on Dayton’s head, he has been a decent reliever the last two years, but the 12th pick overall is not one spent with the bullpen in mind.
There is plenty of reason to believe that at least one of the starters in this rotation is going to struggle this year, and with any rotation there is injury risk. I am not going to say Aaron Crow would be a raving success if moved to the rotation. He may be built to be a bullpen guy. But it is hard to think he would be worse than Luke Hochevar.