Royals sign No. 1 overall pick Hochevar
August 3, 2006
KANSAS CITY, Missouri (Ticker) - Righthander Luke Hochevar never could agree to contract terms with the Los Angeles Dodgers. That was not the case with the Kansas City Royals.
Hochevar, the No. 1 overall pick in Major League Baseball's First-Year Player Draft in June, signed a four-year contract with the Royals on Thursday.
Terms were not disclosed.
Hochevar, 22, is only the fourth No. 1 overall pick in the last 20 years to sign a major league contract, joining Delmon Young with Tampa Bay (2003), Pat Burrell with Philadelphia (1998) and Alex Rodriguez with Seattle (1993).
"We are excited to get Luke signed in a timely fashion," Royals director of scouting Deric Ladnier said. "We see Luke as a top-flight talent and a key part to our future success. We're pleased he'll be able to perform this season and begin working toward reaching the major leagues."
The 6-5 Hochevar was a supplemental pick (40th overall) between the first and second rounds by the Dodgers in June 2005 after starring at Tennessee and winning the Roger Clemens Award, honoring college baseball's best pitcher.
But the Dodgers were unable to sign Hochevar, who spent the last year with the independent Fort Worth Cats of the American Association, where he posted a 1-1 record and a 2.38 ERA in four starts. Hochevar's fastball was clocked between 90-97 miles per hour in his starts for Fort Worth.
On Labor Day weekend, Hochevar switched agents from Scott Boras to Matt Sosnick and was close to reaching a deal with the Dodgers. But he later went back to Boras and decided to re-enter the draft.
Signability was not a factor for the Royals in their decision to select Hochevar instead of three other highly-rated college pitchers - lefthander Andrew Miller of North Carolina and righthanders Tim Lincecum of Washington and Brad Lincoln of Houston.
The Southeastern Conference Pitcher of the Year, Hochevar struck out a school-record 154 batters while posting a 15-3 record and 2.26 ERA in 2005. In three years with the Volunteers, he struck out 287 batters in 280 1/3 innings.