31-Year-Old Pitcher – Kansas City Royals
2015 Fantasy Baseball Outlook
Hochevar had been poised to take on a key role in the Kansas City bullpen in 2014, but those plans changed in March when it was decided that rest and rehabilitation would not help him recover from a s...
Luke Hochevar Contract Information:
Re-signed with the Royals on a two-year, $10 million contract in December 2014.
Hochevar re-signed with the Royals on a two-year, $10 million contract Wednesday, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports.
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Luke Hochevar Split Stats (View Full Split Stats)
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Kansas City Royals Roster
MajorsAdams, Lane (OF)
AAABaumann, Buddy (P)
AAAlexander, Scott (P)
A+Almonte, Miguel (P)
AAntonio, Mike (SS)
Luke Hochevar: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
After years of struggling in the Royals' rotation, Hochevar was shifted to the bullpen and finally delivered on the promise that once made him a first-round draft choice. He pitched with more confidence, lowered his ERA to 1.96, increased his K/9 from 7.0 to 10.5 and more than doubled his K/BB, bringing it to an impressive 4.82 over 70.1 innings. He was one of the primary reasons the Royals had a top-rated bullpen in 2013. The Royals haven't given up on him as a starter just yet and he'll be competing for a spot in the rotation during the spring. If he can carry over his relief numbers into a starting role, he'll land a spot easily, but if he continues to struggle as he has in the past, expect to see him back in a relief role for 2014.
If there is one thing you can say about the Royals, it is that their faith in Hochevar has been unwavering over the past five seasons. In spite of all his struggles on the mound, they keep going back to him year after year with the hopes that this will finally be the season that it all clicks for the now 29-year-old right-hander. While he brought his strikeout rate back up to his career norm in 2012, he took a step backwards in virtually every other way, most notably his 5.73 ERA and 1.42 WHIP. He walked more hitters, gave up more home runs and saw his groundball rate drop while giving up more line drives than at any other point in his career. Though his 4.63 FIP indicates that he did not pitch as poorly as his ERA would make it seem, the leash seems to be getting shorter as the Royals appear more willing to move on from him than ever before.
Did the light finally come on for Hochevar in second half of 2011? After the All-Star break, he had 68 strikeouts and 24 walks with a 3.52 ERA over 79.1 innings. For those new to Hochevar, these are numbers never before seen from the righty. In the past he's had trouble missing bats, but that changed in the later half of 2011 as he may have discovered that his slider can be a very effective tool at putting batters away. It's much too soon to declare the former No. 1 overall pick's career back on track, but a sleeper candidate for the 2012 season, why not?
Hochevar certainly didn't set the world on fire with his 2010 campaign, but he enters 2011 with his spot in the rotation solidified. He managed to cut down both his home runs and hits allowed last season while his K/9IP rate remained static at 6.6. His FIP indicates he was a tad unlucky in 2010, but not enough to expect a major improvement from luck alone in 2011.
Hochevar simply fell apart after the All-Star break in his second full season with the Royals. He began 2009 with a 5-3 record thanks to solid run support. His second half was down right miserable as he posted a 2-10 record with a 7.35 ERA. Although his K/9IP was impressive at 8.4, his WHIP skyrocketed to 1.599 in the second half. Hochevar also fell victim to the long ball, giving up 23 home runs in 25 starts. Hochevar is a young power arm with great potential and it is common for young pitchers to struggle down the stretch as they are not accustomed to logging the amount of innings a major league starter throws during a complete season. His second-half fade is a worry, but the Royals are highly vested in the right-hander and he will enter 2010 as their No. 3 starter.
We saw glimpses of potential in Hochevar in 2008, his first extended visit to the major leagues, but his season ended early because of a late-August rib cage injury. He also showed up a little late, starting the season with Triple-A Omaha, then earning a promotion when John Bale’s arm went sour. Even though his regular rookie stats weren’t great (5.51 ERA, 1.473 WHIP, 72:47 K:BB in 129 innings), he got a lot of groundball outs, which is good news for a sinkerball pitcher. He had the skills to go first overall in the 2006 draft (ahead of Tim Lincecum, Clayton Kershaw and Evan Longoria), and he should pitch from the middle of the Royals’ rotation in 2009.
Hochevar's main 2007 minor league stats (4-9, 4.86 ERA, .271 BAA in 26 starts between Double-A and Triple-A) suggested that a transition to the majors may still be a year away, but his 138:47 K:BB ratio showed maybe he would be ready a little bit earlier. The 40th overall pick in the 2005 draft pitched well enough in his four September appearances for the Royals to warrant some consideration for the fifth starter's gig coming out of spring training, but odds are he will start the season in Triple-A and get the callup sometime during the summer.
The No. 1 overall choice in the 2006 draft (after being the 40th player selected and not signing in 2005), Hochevar spent much of the 2006 season relaxing and waiting for Scott Boras to show him the money. The Royals came to terms with him in August and saw a glimpse of his potential when he struck out 16 in 15 innings and walking two at low-A Burlington. Shoulder tightness ended his Arizona Fall League season early, but he is expected to be fully healthy this spring and on the fast track to the majors with likely a ETA of 2008.