Tommy John is never great news, so let’s not pretend otherwise. Hearing that Kansas City Royals righty Luke Hochevar‘s season was finished before it began didn’t make anybody’s day better on Sunday. This is just the latest, and perhaps last, of many poetically frustrating turns in the story of Hochevar’s career in Kansas City.
Hochevar always confounded Royals fans with undeniable signs of promise followed by unwatchable blowups and breakdowns. It always felt like Hochevar began to shine as soon as it seemed he was destined to struggle, and vice versa.
A seven-year, 5.01 compiled ERA does little to tell the story of Hochevar’s unpredictability. The former first-round draft pick has recorded an ERA as high as 6.55 and as low as last year’s impressive 1.92 during his time in KC. The stats spell out the flaw that sent him to the bullpen last year — the career opposing batting average for Hochevar raises from .247 in the first at-bat to .301 in the third. Compare that to KC’s ace James Shields, whose opposing average actually drops by .001 from the first to third AB, and you can see why a move to the pen was imminent.
Hochevar now spends his final season under contract splitting time between rest and rehab. Whether he will stay with the Royals after his contract runs out is uncertain as is his value on the market after such and up-and-down start to his career. All Hoche can do is work to stay healthy, and all Royals fans can do is hope that the rest of the bullpen talent can hold strong.