Hochevar pitching for the Royals in 2011
Kansas City Royals – No. 44
September 15, 1983 |
|September 8, 2007 for the Kansas City Royals|
(through 2013 season)
|Earned run average||5.10|
|Competitor for United States|
|World University Championship|
Luke Anthony Hochevar (Slovene: Hočevar, //; born September 15, 1983) is an American professional baseball pitcher for the Kansas City Royals of Major League Baseball (MLB). He played college baseball at the University of Tennessee.
Luke Hochevar was born in Denver, Colorado and raised in Wiley, Colorado and later moved to Fowler, Colorado by parents Brian and Carmen Hochevar along with one brother and one sister. His father is a former college basketball player who had an unsuccessful tryout with the Denver Nuggets and who later turned to coaching, including serving as Luke's baseball coach at Fowler High School. While at Fowler High, Luke Hochevar was named Colorado Division 2A Player of the Year his senior year and was a three-time All-state selection. He was a multi-sport athlete, earning All-state honors in basketball. Hochevar excelled in the classroom as well, being named an Academic All-state four consecutive years. Hochevar's paternal grandparents were from Slovenia.
Luke Hochevar was selected by Los Angeles Dodgers in the 39th round (1,191st overall) of the 2002 MLB amateur entry draft but chose to attend college at the University of Tennessee instead. Hochevar was used primarily as a relief pitcher during his Freshman year for the "Volunteers" baseball team, striking out 73 batters and walking 24 in 77 innings of work. His sophomore season was injury-plagued for Hochevar, as he missed a total of eight weeks playing time. However he was good enough to be selected for the USA Baseball National Team, pitching and earning the victory in the FISU II World University Baseball Championship against Japan. Hochever bounced back from his Sophomore jinx in 2005 as a Junior, striking out a school record 154 batters, posting a 15-3 record, and 2.26 ERA for the season. For his efforts he was named the Southeastern Conference Pitcher of the Year and won the Roger Clemens Award.
Draft and Minor Leagues
The Dodgers would select Hochevar again, this time in the first round (40th overall) of the 2005 draft. After negotiations among the Dodgers, Hochevar, and his agent Scott Boras, Hochevar suddenly switched agents to Matt Sosnick, accepted a $2.98 million signing bonus from scouting director Logan White. However, the next day Hochevar changed his mind on switching agents, returning to Boras the next day and reneged on the deal. Several months of lukewarm talks continued with Hochevar pitching in an independent league (where he struck out 34 batters in 22.2 innings), but amidst much bitterness, the two sides never came close to reaching a new agreement.
He entered the draft yet again in 2006 and was selected first overall by the Kansas City Royals. On August 3, nearly two months after the draft, Hochevar signed a four-year major league contract worth $5.3 million guaranteed with the Royals. He received a $3.5 million signing bonus with the ability to earn as much as $7 million over the four years.
Kansas City Royals
Hochevar made his major league debut September 8, 2007 in a game against the New York Yankees.
In 2008, he had the lowest run support of all pitchers, with an average of 2.8 runs per game started, finishing with a record of 6-12. His ERA though, was a high one, finishing at 5.51 in 22 starts.
Following the Royals' 2009 spring training camp, he was sent to the Triple-A Omaha Royals to learn to "use both sides of the plate with more consistency" and to stay away from big innings. He was called up to the Royals starting rotation on May 10.
In his 2009 debut, Hochevar lasted just two innings and surrendered eight runs. On June 12, 2009, Hochevar pitched an 80 pitch complete game, only allowing 3 hits and 1 run; this was a feat that had only been accomplished by 5 pitchers in American League the previous 20 years. On July 25, 2009, Hochevar recorded a career high 13 strikeouts in 7 innings in a 6-3 win over the Texas Rangers. On September 18, 2009, Hochevar threw his first career shutout in an 11–0 win over the Chicago White Sox.
Despite these accomplishments, Hochevar struggled with his consistency through the '09 season, posting the highest ERA of AL starters (6.55) while going 7-13.
In his first start of the year on April 7, 2010, Hochevar threw 72⁄3 scoreless innings in a 3-2 win in 11 innings over the Detroit Tigers. Through June 2010, Hochevar was 5-4 with a 4.96 ERA. He was on the Disabled List with a right elbow strain from mid-June until September. He finished the year at 6-6 with a 4.81 ERA.
Hochevar was the Royals' opening day starter in 2011. At the All-Star break, he had a win-loss record of 5-8 with a 5.46 ERA. He fared significantly better after the break, ending the season with an 11-11 record and a 4.68 ERA. Also notable was his 1.28 WHIP.
Hochevar's strong finish in 2011 suggested that he might emerge as a top-quality starting pitcher in 2012. Instead, he experienced a disappointing season, finishing with an 8-16 record and a 5.73 ERA. He allowed more earned runs than any other major league pitcher, and his -1.7 WAR (Wins Above Replacement) was the worst of his career.
On January 15, 2013 Hochevar filed for salary arbitration, the only Royals player to do so in the off-season, and the second year in a row that he has done so. In 2012 he and the team settled on a $3.51 million one-year deal. The Royals announced on January 18, 2013 that they had reached agreement with Luke Hochevar on a one-year contract worth $4.56 million, thus avoiding arbitration.
On March 13, 2013. Royals manager Ned Yost announced that Luke Hochevar would not begin the season in the starting rotation. Hochevar was instead assigned to the bullpen for middle relief duties. In that role, he performed effectively for the Royals, posting a 1.92 ERA in 70.1 innings. He also struck out 82 batters while walking only 17.
During a Spring Training game against the White Sox on March 3, 2014, Hochevar suffered an elbow injury and left the game. An MRI the following day tested positive that there was a major tear of the UCL in the right elbow. On March 7, 2014 Royals officials confirmed the injury and stated Hochevar would be undergoing Tommy John surgery to repair the damage. The surgery caused Hochevar to miss the entire 2014 season.
On December 3, 2014 Hochevar signed a 2-year 10 million dollar agreement with the Kansas City Royals.
Hochevar has a wide variety of pitches. He has a four-seam fastball and sinker that average about 93 mph, a cutter averaging 89, a slider at 85, a curveball in the high 70s, and a changeup in the low 80s. He uses five of the pitches to both right-handed and left-handed hitters, eschewing only the slider to lefties and the changeup to righties. His wide pitch variety can make him unpredictable to hitters; even in full counts, Hochevar throws his four-seamer, sinker, cutter, and slider in roughly equal proportions.
Hochevar comes from a family of athletes. In addition to his father's college basketball career and success as a high school and college baseball coach, Luke's sister Brittany was a volleyball standout at Long Beach State and currently plays beach volleyball for the AVP Pro Beach Volleyball tour.
- "Player bio: Luke Hochevar". University of Tennessee Sports Information Department. 2006. Retrieved 18 January 2013.
- Lopez, Larry (9 October 2012). "3-sport wonder: 'Hoch' was South High triggerman in early '70s". The Pueblo Chieftain via website. Retrieved 18 January 2013.
- Molony, Jim (2006-06-06). "Royals tab Hochevar as No. 1 pick". MLB.com. Retrieved 2009-03-09.
- "Hochevar Negotiations Get Weird". Baseball America website. 9 September 2005. Retrieved 18 January 2013.
- "Should Royals give up on No. 1 draft pick Hochevar". Baseball Nation. 4 June 2012. Retrieved 18 January 2013.
- Royals Option Hochevar to Omaha SI.com, April 1, 2009
- Kaegel, Dick (2009-05-10). "Closer Soria place on disabled list". MLB.com. Retrieved 2009-05-10.
-  Kansas City Star, June 12, 2009
- Kaegel, Dick (15 January 2013). "Hochevar only Royals player to file for arbitration.". MLB.com via KC Royals official website. Retrieved 18 January 2013.
- Kaegel, Dick (18 January 2013). "Royals sign Hochevar to avoid arbitration". MLB.com via KC Royals team werbsite. Retrieved 18 January 2013.
- "Royals Pitcher Luke Hochevar to have "Tommy John surgery"". KSHB-TV via website. 7 March 2014. Retrieved 7 March 2014.
- "Royals RHP Hochevar having season-ending surgery". Associated Press. ESPN.com. Retrieved March 8, 2014.
- "PITCHf/x Player Card: Luke Hochevar". BrooksBaseball.net. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
- Career statistics and player information from MLB, or ESPN, or Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube, or Baseball-Reference (Minors)