Remember way back in 2006 when the Kansas City Royals draft Luke Hochevar #1 overall? Remember the hype from the Kansas City sports community?
Hochevar was first drafted in 39th round of the 2002 draft, 1,191st overall, by the Los Angeles Dodgers. Luke decided to go to college, attending University of Tennessee. Hochevar was later drafted in 2005, again by the Dodgers. This time in the 1st round, 40th overall. Due to somewhat unknown circumstances and a somewhat pre-Madonna attitude from Hochevar, where he fired Scott Boras as his agent, signed a new agent, agreed to terms with the Dodgers, fired his new agent, re-hired Boras, then reneged on his agreement with the Dodgers, Hochevar found himself playing independent league baseball in 2005.
Hochevar re-entered the draft in 2006, being selected #1 overall, shortly after the Royals hired new General Manager, Dayton Moore.
To me, this entire 2006 draft was VERY fishy for the Royals. With new GM at the helm, Moore said publicly he was going to refrain from participating in the 2006 draft due to his familiarity with the Atlanta Braves draft strategy. Moore reportedly did not participate in any aspect of this draft.
I have never believed this scenario. One of two things took place, in my mind: 1 – And most likely, Moore wanted Hochevar, but was worried about him so said he was not participating. 2 – The scouting department wanted Hochevar, but Moore, knowingly, went along with it.
I had my doubts early about Hochevar and have never thought he would turn into the staff Ace that is expected from a #1 overall draft pick.
Hochevar has never had a winning season in the Majors, his best 11-11 and he has a 5.33 career ERA. Admittedly, at times Hochevar has shown flashes of Ace potential, but at this point flashes are the only thing fans should hope for.
As Royals fans watch Hochevar’s 2006 1st round draftmates win Cy Young Awards (Tim Lincecum – 2008 & 2009, Clayton Kershaw – 2011), smash home runs (Evan Longoria, 114 in 517 games), make All-Star game appearances (Tim Lincecum – 4, Clayton Kershaw – 1, Evan Longoria – 3, Chris Perez – 2011) and win Gold Glove awards (Clayton Kershaw – 2011, Evan Longoria – 2009, 2010), it is time we wonder… No, accept it is time we begin to accept that, at best Luke Hochevar is a #5 starting pitcher in this league and stop trying to force him into the Ace category.
Hochevar is on a 1-year contract with the Royals in 2012, making $3.1 million. Think about that for a second: Never a single winning season and a 5.33 career ERA gets paid $3.1 million. To me, it sounds as if the Royals and Dayton Moore are trying to prove to themselves they will not/did not “miss” on Hochevar. Why else would a General Manager who “had nothing to do with” drafting a player invest so much to keep him around when he has performed at such a low level?
I sincerely hope Luke Hochevar is not with the Royals in 2013. If so, do not expect the Royals to be honestly competing for a playoff spot.