Royals agree with top pick Hochevar

Royals agree with top pick Hochevar

KANSAS CITY -- Pitcher Luke Hochevar has become a Royal.

Hochevar, the No. 1 overall pick in the First-Year Player Draft this year, agreed to a four-year Major League contract, the Royals announced on Thursday.

Hochevar will sign the contract on Saturday and be placed on the Royals' 40-man roster. The deal extends through 2009.

Hochevar will become the fourth No. 1 selection of the draft to sign a Major League deal in the last 20 years, according to the Royals. The others were Alex Rodriguez in 1993, Pat Burrell in 1998 and Delmon Young in 2003.

A right-hander, Hochevar (pronounced HO-chay-vur) was a consensus All-America selection at the University of Tennessee in 2005 and won the Roger Clemens National Pitcher of the Year Award.

The Royals did not disclose contract terms, but Hochevar was believed to have received a guaranteed $5.2 million over the length of the contract with incentives that could boost that to about $7 million.

"We are excited to get Luke signed in a timely fashion, which is a tribute to Luke and the Glass family," senior scouting director Deric Ladnier said. "This will reinforce the depth in our system that we have been stockpiling over the past two months. We see Luke as a top-flight talent and a key part of our future success. We're happy he'll be able to perform this season and begin working toward reaching the big leagues."

Hochevar, 22, was the Royals' first overall No. 1 pick. He was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers as the 40th overall pick in 2005, but he did not sign. Before this year's draft, he was pitching for the independent Fort Worth Cats.

At Tennessee, Hochevar went 15-3 with a 2.26 ERA in 19 starts last season for the Volunteers' College World Series team. His three-year record was 25-10 with a 3.05 ERA in 51 games.

He throws a fastball in the 92-mph range and has a good overhand curveball.

Hochevar went to Fowler High School in Colorado and was coached by his father, Brian. In 2004, he was on Team USA and pitched an outstanding game against Japan.

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.