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The Royals remain deluded in their hopes for Luke Hochevar

Sep 11, 2012, 12:50 AM EDT

Luke Hochevar Getty Images

Luke Hochevar has made $3.1 million while going 7-13 with a 5.36 ERA in 28 starts this season. One would think that increasing salary combined with his worst performance since 2009 would finally result in his departure at season’s end. However, GM Dayton Moore said the Royals have no intention of non-tendering Hochevar this winter.

The Royals still seem convinced that there’s a good pitcher lurking somewhere inside Hochevar’s body just waiting to bust out. Sure, he turns 29 this week and he has a career record of 37-56 with a 5.30 ERA, but he still throws pretty hard.

“His numbers are not spectacular by any stretch of the imagination,” manager Ned Yost told the Kansas City Star, “but I’ve seen many pitchers go through what he’s gone through. Actually, he’s better than most of those guys.”

Better than what guys? Yost listed Jorge De La Rosa, Jason Schmidt and Kevin Millwood as starters who struggled for a long time before figuring it out. However, Hochevar has nothing on that trio.

Hochevar: 80 ERA+ in 124 career starts
De La Rosa: 83 ERA+ in first 59 starts, now 95 ERA+ in 126 career starts
Schmidt: 97 ERA+ in first 128 career starts
Millwood: 114 ERA+ in first 126 career starts

No, Hochevar has very little common in those guys. I can only find one guy in the last 50 years who had a six-year start similar to Hochevar’s and went on to to become a really good pitcher. That’s Mike Scott, who found a splitter and won a Cy Young Award with the Astros in 1986. He had a 78 ERA+ through six years.

Ryan Dempster is also worth mentioning; he had an 85 ERA+ in his first six seasons before hurting his arm, turning to relief and eventually becoming a quality starter. Dempster, though, had already had one big season at age 23. Hochevar has never had a year in which he’s been an average starter.

There’s also Jamie Moyer with an 87+ ERA through six years, but I don’t see Hochevar going that route.

The point is that the odds are very much against Hochevar at this point, and though I don’t necessarily disagree that he still has some upside remaining, the Royals would likely be better off on spending their $4 million on someone else next year.

  1. elmaquino - Sep 11, 2012 at 12:53 AM

    “That’s Mike Scott, who found a splitter and won a Cy Young Award with the Astros in 1986.”

    I think you meant “spitter.”

    • demit22 - Sep 11, 2012 at 3:48 AM

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  2. jaysfan64 - Sep 11, 2012 at 2:00 AM

    Alan Ashby will talk about pretty much anything baseball related…he won’t discuss Mike Scott tho..there’s a reason McCarver called him “Mike Scuff”…

    • rollinghighwayblues - Sep 11, 2012 at 2:45 AM

      According to the “Bad Guys Won” by Jeff Pearlman, Phil Garner, the 3rd basemen for the Astros, was supposedly the man behind scuffing the ball for Scott…and he did it via his belt buckle.

  3. fuddpucker - Sep 11, 2012 at 2:36 AM

    The Royals management just know they have no better options than a below average pitcher named Luke Hochevar. The owner and GM’s only goal is to keep just enough fans in the seats so they can pocket a few million for themselves. It’s a brilliant strategy, the best the Royals can finish is something like .450 but they still make money.

    Only when the fans finally backlash will David Glass sell or move the team, that lease for Kauffman ain’t completely locked up!!!

  4. sfm073 - Sep 11, 2012 at 9:02 AM

    There’s a good chance that this guy will never find “it” but I’ll take Ned yost’s word over yours that “it” is somewhere inside of him.

  5. mazblast - Sep 11, 2012 at 11:40 AM

    If “it” is inside of him, Yost hasn’t been able to unlock “it” and deserves to be fired.

    Hochevar is a perfect example of a player getting an infinite number of chances just because he throws hard and was a high draft pick. Yost is a perfect example of a successful coach who makes a terrible manager. The royals are a perfect example of a hot mess.

  6. sportsdrenched - Sep 11, 2012 at 12:32 PM

    As long at Hochcinco (because is career ERA is above Cinco) is in this starting rotation…you can’t honestly tell me the Royals Organization is interested in winning anything….besides the title of being the most inept organization in professional sports during the current ownership regime.

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