Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Bringing Back Hochevar

The first two paragraphs of Bob Dutton's latest column will not be a pretty sight to those of you hoping to see Luke Hochevar non-tendered or traded this winter:
Let there be no doubt: the Royals remain bullish in their belief that right-hander Luke Hochevar can be a productive cornerstone in their rotation for years to come despite his ongoing inconsistencies in a disappointing season.
General manager Dayton Moore dismisses the suggestion the Royals might walk away from Hochevar, who is again eligible for arbitration, after the season. Manager Ned Yost barks “absolutely” when asked if Hochevar can be part of a championship rotation.

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2012/09/10/3807643/royals-are-convinced-hochevar.html#storylink=cpy
I think it's safe to say that the Royals front office learned nothing from the Kyle Davies fiasco. They complimented Davies' talent at every turn, and gave him every opportunity to succeed, but the results never matched his stuff. Davies had a 77 career ERA+ when Dayton Moore finally gave up on the right-hander. 77, coincidentally, is Hochevar's ERA+ this year. To show how little he's come, in his first full season, back in 2008, Hochevar posted a 78 ERA+.

He gets dogged for being inconsistent but that's not exactly true. He's never had an ERA+ above 87 in any season, so you see, he is consistent, consistently bad. Davies, to his credit, actually hit 107 once. The only good thing I have left to say about Hochevar is that he is a reliable starter. You can be sure he'll take the mound every fifth, and there is some value in that, maybe not much, but some. The problem is he's not reliably good and has no business anywhere near the front of a rotation.

The main problem with the 2012 team has been the starting pitching. Bruce Chen is under contract for next year and, like Hochevar, is also sitting on a 77 ERA+. Bringing both back is a clear signal that Moore has no interest in seriously upgrading the rotation. The only pitcher in the current rotation that I want to see in next year's is Jeremy Guthrie and he may be pitching himself out of the Royals price range. It's time to part ways with Hochevar and wish him luck in the National League.
Brett Myers has had a solid year but he has been absolutely demolished by the Royals. In 5 appearances totaling 3.1 innings they have hit .720/.704/.920 against him. He's faced 27 Royals, 18 have got hits and 12 have scored (32.40 ERA). His game logs tell the humorous tale.
Date Tm Opp IP H R ER BB SO
2012-06-18 HOU KCR 0.2 8 5 5 0 0
2012-08-08 CHW KCR 1.0 0 0 0 0 0
2012-08-18 CHW KCR 1.0 4 4 4 0 0
2012-09-08 CHW KCR 0.1 3 1 1 0 0
2012-09-09 CHW KCR 0.1 3 2 2 1 0
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool

I don't understand why Robin Ventura brought him into a scoreless game in the 10th inning Sunday, but to be honest, I don't understand a lot of the things Ventura has done this year.
Don't look now but Johnny Giavotella is starting to hit. He's batting .298/.353/.404 over his last 14 games. In an even smaller sample size he's batting .318/.423/.500 in September (7 games). And Sunday he became just the 12th Royal in history to walk 3 times and steal 2 bases in a single game. 

Rk Player Date Tm Opp Rslt BB SB
1 Joe Foy 1969-05-30 (2) KCR NYY L 4-5 3 2
2 Freddie Patek 1975-04-15 KCR OAK W 4-3 3 2
3 Amos Otis 1975-05-01 KCR CAL W 11-10 3 4
4 Amos Otis 1975-05-25 KCR BAL W 9-1 3 3
5 Hal McRae 1976-06-01 KCR OAK W 5-2 3 2
6 Amos Otis 1976-06-20 KCR CLE L 8-11 3 2
7 Frank White 1979-04-27 KCR CLE W 15-7 3 2
8 Amos Otis 1979-06-03 KCR MIL W 6-1 3 2
9 Lonnie Smith 1985-07-01 KCR OAK L 3-4 3 2
10 Bill Pecota 1988-09-25 KCR CHW L 5-6 3 2
11 Willie Wilson 1988-09-25 KCR CHW L 5-6 3 2
12 Jay Bell 1997-09-27 KCR CHW W 10-4 3 2
13 Carlos Beltran 2004-04-20 KCR CLE W 15-5 3 3
14 Coco Crisp 2009-05-05 KCR CHW W 8-7 4 2
15 Johnny Giavotella 2012-09-09 KCR CHW W 2-1 3 2
His major league career has thus far been a disappointment, so  even though the sample sizes are indeed small, they are still encouraging.

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