I am a huge fan of Luke Hochevar and have been since he was first drafted by the Royals with the #1 pick in 2006. The guy had every tool needed to be one of the greatest pitchers Kansas City has ever seen, and over the last couple of years there have been moments where it seemed everything was about to click and a superstar would be born. Each of those moments was generally followed by an outing so bad you wondered how he made it to the majors.
Going into this season, I thought everything was going to finally come together. I thought things were going to be different and the first start seemed to confirm that fact. Then came start number 2. Just like every time before, the great game was followed by an awful game.
With much pain and moaning it's time for me to admit that maybe I was wrong. Maybe Hochevar is not cut out to be a starter for the Royals. Maybe I have been wrong for the past 6 years. I hope not, but maybe…
With that in mind, here are some thoughts on what should be done with him:
It's obvious that Hochevar has the physical talent to be great, but something just isn't working in his current role. Perhaps it isn't that player that is bad, though. Perhaps he has simply been poorly used. In baseball, much of the game is about rhythm. It's possible that he may be better off pitching less innings more frequently. Heck, maybe we can try him at closer even. Let him throw power pitches all out for only one inning. The talent is there; it's at least worth a shot.
The Royals can always use a few prospects, or a new set of balls, and the market is always there for a serviceable pitcher. Come trade deadline time there is always a team on the brink of the playoffs needing a pitcher to fill a hole. This could be our chance to get rid of baggage and grab some guys that could help out down the road. Even if they don't pan out, it can't get much worse than it is now.
Stick it out
You have to admit, the guy can pitch. Maybe we just need to give it more time. Let his great games balance his bad games out, knowing that at the end of the day he is still an average pitcher. Surely that talent has to kick in at some time. It would be horrible to trade him away and watch him become an All-Star on another team.
Jacob was born and raised in Kansas City. He has been a diehard Kansas City Royals fan his entire life. He now lives in Gladstone, Mo. where he is raising the next generation of Royal's fans.