The Knuckleball: Take a Look at Luke Hochevar

Fantasy Knuckleheads@_knuckleheadsCorrespondent IApril 8, 2010

BALTIMORE - JULY 30:  Starting pitcher Luke Hochevar #44 of the Kansas City Royals delivers against the Baltimore Orioles during MLB action at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on July 30, 2009 in Baltimore, Maryland. Hochevar collected the loss as the Orioles defeated the Royals 7-3.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Remember Luke Hochevar? He was the first overall pick of the 2006 draft. He was drafted in front of the likes of Evan Longoria, Tim Lincecum and Clayton Kershaw. He has shown flashes of brilliance in his short career in the majors (including an 80 pitch complete game last year) but he really hasn’t done anything worthy of praise in the fantasy world. Over the last two years he has posted a 5.88 ERA with an eye-searing 1.47 WHIP. These are not numbers that you’d expect from a first-overall selection in a draft.

2010 might be the year where Luke Hochevar finally breaks out. If he does break out, he could be the best free agent you add all year.

Hochevar definitely has the pedigree of a fantasy ace. In his college days he was practically untouchable. In 2005 he had a 2.26 ERA for his team at The University of Tennessee. When he finally agreed to a contract with a major league club, he pitched in the minor leagues and posted a 1.13 ERA. Hochevar also holds the record at U of T for strikeouts in one season (154).

What happened to him in the majors? Well sometimes guys just need time to adjust to big league hitters. They are, after all, the best hitters in the world.

There are some complete studs in the league right now that were terrible their first few years. Does Justin Morneau ring any bells? Zack Greinke is another guy who took a few years to finally “get it”. The Kansas City Royals have shown a lot of patience with Hochevar, which leads me to believe that they see a bright future in him. They wouldn’t let him contribute to their losses for two years if they saw nothing in him.

On Wednesday night, Hochevar posted a box score that anyone could fall in love with: 7.2 IP, 5 H, 1 BB, 2 K and 0 ER

I think it’s time for us to pick up Luke Hochevar up out of free agency and sit on him for a bit. Remember: guys on your bench will not hurt you. Where is the harm in picking up a potential stud and letting him warm your bench for a week or two? If he doesn’t pan out, just drop him.

Anyways, I’m dying to go over Wednesday night’s games. Let’s dig in!

  • I’ll take any chance I get to brag about Garrett Jones. He is currently the NL leader in HRs after his first inning bomb off of lefty Clayton Kershaw. Not only is Kershaw hard to hit in the first place, but it’s very well documented that Jones can’t hit lefties…or can he? I can’t wait to see how he does against some more lefties this year. If Jones can come out of no where last year to be a fantasy stud, why can’t he learn to hit lefties?
  • Miguel Olivo started today for the Colorado Rockies ahead of Chris Iannetta. Everyone totally expected this to be a time-share going into the season, but I’m pissed that Iannetta hasn’t done anything to take that job full time. We all know he has the potential to be a top 10 catcher, but he just can’t hit the dad-gum ball! I’m still holding Iannetta in my fantasy leagues, but I’m giving him three weeks to prove his worth. If he can’t get anything respectable going in three weeks, I think I’m going to contiplate dropping him. I don’t think there is anything worse in fantasy baseball than a catcher who hurts your team rather than help it.
  • Hard-hitting shortstop J.J. Hardy hit his second homer of the season. I think the change of scenery was a great move for him, because he seems to have found his 2007-2008 form. He’s still unowned in a LOT of leagues, so before you finish reading this go check if he is available and pick him up.
  • All you Sean Rodriguez fans out there, it seems like Reid Brignac is here to ruin our party. It looks like 2B for the Tampa Bay Rays is going to be a time-share between the two and I fear that neither have value worth owning in 10 team mixed leagues. Rodriguez had a really good spring but remember: “It’s only spring training”. You never know, maybe Rodriguez saw only fastballs because those were the pitches that were being worked on by opposing pitchers. Maybe I got a little too excited and we were too quick to name him the second-coming of Ben Zobrist. Either way, we will have to see how Rodriguez produces in the coming weeks before we officially declare anything about him. It could take a month or two before he takes over the job.
  • It’s important to note what Leo Nunez did on Wednesday night. He came into the game with the bases loaded and a two run lead in the ninth inning and WALKED Fernando Tatis for a run scored. You never intentionally walk with the bases loaded, EVER. After that, he balked in another run to tie the game. Leo Nunez has never really had dominating stuff in my opinion. He gives up way too many homers and he walks batters a little too much. He blew seven saves last year so you really have to wonder if he will keep his closer job for the entire season.
  • Just like we thought, Bobby Jenks struggled mightily in his first appearance of the season. He was sent into a non-save situation and got roughed up: 1 IP, 1 ER, 2 BB and 2 K. Hey…at least he made it out of the inning. All Bobby Jenks owners need to own Matt Thornton and possibly JJ Putz as insurance. I’ve warned you.
  • There was a Kelly Johnson sighting in Arizona tonight. He went 3-3 with two dingers and he lead off for them too. I’m really not buying into his stock because he’s a 20/20 at best, but I think he’s more along the lines of a .270/15/60/60/10 player this season. Take it if you want it…

What other stuff did you guys see around the league that jumps out at you? Post about it in the comments!

Also, I’d like to steal an idea from my colleague Rustyn Rose and give you guys some music to listen to! This is the latest Auto Tune The News by the Gregory Brothers. They are really funny and surprisingly talented musicians! Check it out: