For the first time since he was drafted #1 overall in 2006 I'm having doubts that Luke Hochevar will ever "get it". In fact, right now, I don't even believe he's better than the much maligned Kyle Davies. That's hard for me to admit, because as most of you know, I've been a big Hochevar supporter since he was drafted.
Looking at their stats since the start of the 2008 season and it's fairly obvious who's been the better pitcher.
Of course Davies has the edge because of his 2008 season in which he put up a 108 ERA+, but even if you just look at 2009-2011 he still has the lower ERA (5.38 compared to 5.80). Now Davies is miscast as a #3 but as a #5 he would appear to be perfectly acceptable. He's certainly no world beater and I'm not saying a team can win with him at the back of the rotation, however I'm not saying a team can't either. There are worse options.
One of which, unfortunately, is Hochevar. He has been maddeningly consistent in his inconsistency. In his last 7.1 innings he has given up 16 hits and 12 earned runs, and that came immediately after a stretch of 10.1 perfect innings. He literally goes from good to bad in the blink of an eye. That 76 ERA+, by the way, is the absolute worst in baseball (min. 400 IP) in that time period, so obviously there's more bad than good going on.
Here's a start breakdown between the two pitchers and how often they pitch a game in each category. Like above, these are starts since 2008.
|Quality||27 (38.6%)||33 (41.3%)|
|4+ ER||39 (55.7%)||29 (36.3%)|
|5+ ER||23 (32.9%)||17 (21.3%)|
|6+ ER||16 (22.9%)||11 (13.8%)|
Well it's certainly clear why the Royals are 27-43 when Hochevar starts and 40-40 when Davies starts, don't you think?
Going forward, I really don't believe either one will be in the rotation next year, or maybe even in the second half of this year. When two of the worst pitchers in baseball comprise 40% of the rotation something has to be done. The Royals can probably get away with one of them starting every fifth day, but not both, not if they're striving to be competitive.