Former prized prospect Luke Hochevar will no longer be a member of the Kansas City Royals starting rotation. Royals manager Ned Yost told reporters Wednesday morning that Hochevar will be moved to the bullpen (kansascity.com).
The decision leaves Luis Mendoza and Bruce Chen in competition for the fifth starter job behind James Shields, Jeremy Guthrie, Ervin Santana and Wade Davis. None of those four already in the rotation were with the Royals at this time last year.
Hochevar's demotion is most notable because he was the top overall draft pick in 2006 out of the University of Tennessee. He was once viewed as a future ace of the Royals' staff, but has gone 38-59 with a 5.73 ERA and 1.40 ERA in 771 career innings. He led the majors in earned runs allowed last season and is now 29 years old. So, yes, unfortunately the word "bust" can be bandied about here.
Then again, in fairness to Hochevar and the Royals, here are some others from that first round: Greg Reynolds (second overall), Billy Rowell, Kasey Kiker, Colten Willems, Maxwell Sapp, Cody Johnson and Jason Place.
Not to pile on, but it's also worth nothing the Royals could have simply non-tendered Hochevar back in November, avoiding a $4.65 million commitment for a middle reliever.
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