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Royals move Luke Hochevar to the bullpen

Mar 13, 2013, 12:48 PM EDT

Luke Hochevar Getty Images

Kansas City tendering Luke Hochevar a contract and then paying him $4.56 million to avoid arbitration was one of the biggest head-scratchers of the offseason because … well, he’s never been any good.

And now they’re moving him to the bullpen, manager Ned Yost announced today.

Hochevar was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2006 draft, but he has a 5.39 ERA in 771 innings through age 28 and was awful last season while going 8-16 with a 5.73 ERA in 32 starts.

Not giving him another 32 starts is a good decision and there’s a chance Hochevar’s raw stuff will improve when he’s only asked to throw an inning at a time, but $4.56 million for a reliever with a 5.39 career ERA who’s never pitched out of the bullpen before is all kinds of silly.

  1. groundruledoublebourbon - Mar 13, 2013 at 12:58 PM

    If only the headline ended with: ” . . . in triple-A Omaha.”

  2. hansob - Mar 13, 2013 at 1:33 PM

    I’d take him over 2-3 guys that the Twins are going to trot out there in their starting staff.

    • proudlycanadian - Mar 13, 2013 at 1:42 PM

      Does the Twins management think the same as you? If so, he could probably be had for a PTBNL or cash considerations.

    • sportsdrenched - Mar 13, 2013 at 2:17 PM

      No, You Twins fans are our division rivals and we’ve had some fun battles. So trust me when a Royals fan says this. I wouldn’t wish him on you. He just needs to go the way of Kyle Davies.

      • Bryz - Mar 13, 2013 at 2:26 PM

        “He just needs to go the way of Kyle Davies.”

        You mean signing a minor league contract with the Twins, just like Davies did this offseason?

      • sportsdrenched - Mar 13, 2013 at 3:32 PM

        Is that where Davies is? I thought he went home to Georgia to build stuff with his Dad.

    • geoknows - Mar 13, 2013 at 3:53 PM

      I’ll happily drive him to Minneapolis personally for you.

  3. coryfor3 - Mar 13, 2013 at 2:06 PM

    “he’s never been any good.”

    That’s just not true. He pitched very well for Omaha in 2009.

    • coryfor3 - Mar 13, 2013 at 2:59 PM

      Thumbs downs? It’s a joke. Geez.

  4. schlom - Mar 13, 2013 at 2:08 PM

    I good parallel to him is their new acquisition Wade Davis. Davis was a bad starter too – actually even worse than Hochevar by Fangraphs WAR – and was a good reliever. Hochevar throws harder than Davis and was a better starter so in theory he should be an even better reliever.

  5. blacksables - Mar 13, 2013 at 2:23 PM

    If the Royals had any competent baseball people in the organization, they would have seen that Hochevar gets lit up in the first inning all the time. If he can make through the first one, he’s at least average.

    Putting him in a situation where he’ll only pitch one inning at a time is going to be a disaster.

    What they need to do is change his pre-game warm-up routine so he’s better in the first, not put him in the bullpen.

    The Royals haven’t known baseball since Bo left.

    • Jeremy Fox - Mar 13, 2013 at 3:08 PM

      Every starter has his worst results in the first inning, because only in the first inning are you guaranteed to face the other team’s best hitters. Too lazy to look it up, but I’d bet that Hochevar is bad in the first compared to other starters, and about equally bad in the other innings compared to other starters.

      • blacksables - Mar 13, 2013 at 3:20 PM

        There aren’t too many starters anywhere that routinely gave up 8 runs in the first inning, then none the rest of the game like Hochevear did.

        I’m not too lazy to look it up, I just watched the games.

      • Jeremy Fox - Mar 13, 2013 at 3:37 PM

        Sigh. Ok, I’ll look it up.

        Luke Hochevar’s career numbers for all innings:

        opponent’s BA/OBP/SLG: 273/338/448
        K/BB: 2.07

        Luke Hochevar’s career numbers for the leadoff inning:

        opponent BA/OBP/SLG: 270/334/432
        K/BB: 1.95

        I admit it, I was wrong: Hochevar actually has been, if anything, very slightly BETTER in the first inning than overall. But I’m ok with being wrong on that, because you were way wronger.

        You see, thanks to tremendous advances in “keeping records of what happens in baseball games and putting those records online”, nobody has to rely on their faulty and selective memories any more to know what happened in baseball games.

        One unfortunate side effect of these tremendous advances however, is that they’ve also increased the ability of people like you to goad people like me into wasting thirty seconds proving people like you wrong.

      • blacksables - Mar 13, 2013 at 4:18 PM

        27 runs allowed in the first inning = 7.59 RA

        99 runs allowed in the other 153 = 5.81 RA

        “You see, thanks to tremendous advances in “keeping records of what happens in baseball games and putting those records online”, nobody has to rely on their faulty and selective memories any more to know what happened in baseball games.”

        You see, if anything, Hochevar has been proven to be much worse in the first inning than the others.

        I hate proving people like you wrong all the time.

      • Jeremy Fox - Mar 13, 2013 at 5:25 PM

        Oh, dear god…you lost the argument on career stats, so you’ve decided to win it based on the smaller sample size of 2012 stats.

        So, do you also believe Hochevar has special problems in the 7th inning in 2012? ‘Cause in 2012 he had even worse results in the 7th than in the 1st.

        And I’m guessing you think Hochevar totally changed his warmup routine from 2011 to 2012, since in 2011 he had good results in the 1st? And that his problem in 2011 was stamina or something, since that year he also had good results in the 2nd and 3rd, but mostly had lousy results from the 4th inning on?

        Looking forward to what you think his problem was in 2010, when he had good results in the 1st, terrible results in the 2nd and 3rd, good results in the 4th and 5th, terrible results in the 6th and 7th, and good results in the 8th and 9th.

        Seriously, please do entertain us with your laughable storytelling. Please, enlighten us all about what Hochevar was doing so much differently in the 1st inning in 2010 and 2011 vs. 2012. And what he was doing differently in the second inning in 2010 vs. 2011. and so on. You want to tell stories about Hochevar’s 1st inning performance in 2012? Fine–but no cherry picking. I want to hear your story explaining his performance in every single inning of every single year of his career. Because otherwise, you know, I might think you were just cherry picking one small sample from one year and telling a totally meaningless story about it.

        Or maybe Hochevar’s results in any given inning and any given year are going to bounce around a lot because they’re all small sample sizes. With the overall average results being pretty poor not because he doesn’t warm up properly and so has terrible problems in the first inning he pitches, but because he’s Luke Hochevar and he’s not very good in any inning.

      • sandwiches4ever - Mar 13, 2013 at 4:41 PM

        Hochevar also didn’t “routinely” give up 8 runs in the first inning. He gave up 7 once last year in the first, and it looks like no more than 4 in any other start.

        From a quick perusal of the game logs, it looks like he has more of a “big inning” problem, rather than it being a specific inning.

      • muscles1331 - Mar 13, 2013 at 9:43 PM

        Ok guys. All I care about is where you are going to sort Luke Hochevar’s 1st inning stats. Seriously. I want that website.

      • Jeremy Fox - Mar 13, 2013 at 10:01 PM, of course. There may be other useful website in the world, but I can’t think of any.

      • muscles1331 - Mar 14, 2013 at 9:22 AM

        *tips hat* Thanks!

    • geoknows - Mar 13, 2013 at 3:35 PM

      Actually, if you would take a moment and look it up, you would find that Hochevar’s worst inning is the third, not the first. By far.

      Third inning BA against .287, 17 HR allowed, ERA 6.73, 1.57 WHIP in 125 2/3 innings.
      First inning BA against .251, 14 HR allowed, ERA 4.71, 1.27 WHIP in 128 innings.

      • Jeremy Fox - Mar 13, 2013 at 3:40 PM

        Ah, beat me to it. Should’ve checked to see if someone else had bothered to look it up before going and looking it up myself.

  6. geoknows - Mar 13, 2013 at 5:23 PM

    Nice cherry-picking of stats, blacksables. You can’t make a blanket statement about Hochevar, then back it up with stats from 2012 only.

  7. drewsylvania - Mar 13, 2013 at 6:01 PM

    Ass, elbow, and all that.

  8. blingslade - Mar 13, 2013 at 9:43 PM

    There’s no reason at all to argue about Luke’s stats. The guy’s been in the majors and has NOT proven to be anything more than a bum. What else do you need to know?

    • Jeremy Fox - Mar 13, 2013 at 10:05 PM

      Well, I don’t need to know anything else. But apparently, blacksables isn’t even aware of that much…

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