Can Kansas City Royals’ Luke Hochevar Have Success in Bullpen?

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas City Royals have elected to move Luke Hochevar to the bullpen, where the pitcher will have one last chance to prove his worth to the team at the Major League level.

Hochevar showed signs of greatness in 2012 with an 8-0 record with an outstanding 2.38 ERA in 13 starts that the Royals won with him on the mound. However, He was 0-16 with an 8.47 ERA in the 19 starts that Kansas City lost. His inconsistency is one of the many reasons the Royals knew they had to upgrade their starting rotation in 2013.

The former No. 1 overall draft pick has failed to live up to the hype as he has posted a career 38-59 record with a 5.39 ERA in 132 appearances, including 128 starts. Kansas City never lost hope over the years and they have backed this up by giving Hochevar every opportunity imaginable to be successful.

At some point, a team must acknowledge when a player is not working out in a specific role.

The good news for Hochevar is he still has a shot at redemption. He can show the Royals and their fan base that he was not a wasted draft selection in 2006 by becoming a legitimate asset in the bullpen. The other good news is that the 29-year old is embracing his new job.

“I’m willing to take the ball in any position that I can to help the club,” Hochevar explained to KansasCity.com. “That’s the bottom line. Whether it’s starting or in relief, whatever it is, my role is not important”

The move to place Hochevar in the bullpen could benefit the team greatly. His mid-90s fastball and sinker, along with three other quality pitches, will make him a threat against. Manager Ned Yost has hinted at using Hochevar as a late-inning reliever that could get the ball to the players who can then close the door on their opponent.

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