posted June 06, 2006 03:04 PM
Kansas City selects right-hander Hochevar with No. 1 pick
By DENNIS WASZAK Jr., AP Sports Writer
June 6, 2006
NEW YORK (AP) -- Hard-throwing righty Luke Hochevar, back in the draft after failing to reach a deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers, was selected by the Kansas City Royals with the No. 1 pick Tuesday.
Taken by the Dodgers as the 40th overall pick out of the University of Tennessee last year, Hochevar (pronounced HO-chay-vur) and agent Scott Boras did not sign. The 6-foot-5 pitcher had been staying in shape by playing for the independent Fort Worth Cats, and is still working with Boras.
Hochevar was 1-1 with a 2.38 ERA in four starts with the Cats, and flashed the stuff -- a fastball in the mid- to upper-90s, a late-breaking slider and knee-buckling curve -- that made him such a top commodity last year.
Hochevar, a Golden Spikes finalist in 2005, is the first right-hander to go No. 1 overall since Pittsburgh took Ball State's Bryan Bullington in 2002.
Kansas City had the top pick for the first time in team history. The Royals' previous highest selection was No. 2 last year, when they took Nebraska third baseman Alex Gordon.
The two-day draft will go 50 rounds. Not every team is required to pick through the duration.
Colorado selected Stanford 6-foot-7 righty Greg Reynolds with the second overall pick. The Cardinal ace is 6-5 with a 3.36 ERA, and has excellent command of 94-95 mph fastball late into games. Reynolds became a top prospect with two excellent summers in the Cape Cod League.
Making far from a desperate pick, Tampa Bay took Long Beach State third baseman Evan Longoria -- not related to "Desperate Housewives" star Eva Longoria -- and signed him moments after selecting him. Generally considered the best college position player in the draft, he was the MVP of the Cape Cod League last summer and the co-Big West player of the year after hitting .353 with 11 home runs and 43 RBIs.
Next, Pittsburgh selected Houston right-hander/first baseman Brad Lincoln, one of the country's top two-way players. He'll make his name in the pros on the mound, where he has a fastball that hits the mid-90s consistently through games, along with an outstanding curve and still-developing changeup.
California righty Brandon Morrow went fifth to Seattle. Morrow, who has one of the top-rated fastballs in the draft, is a Type I diabetic who checks his blood sugar between innings and wears a computerized pump hooked to the skin near his stomach to provide constant doses of insulin. Teams weren't concerned about health issues because Morrow has excelled at all levels while dealing with the condition.
North Carolina left-hander Andrew Miller, who was considered by the Royals for the top pick, went sixth to Detroit. Miller, a Golden Spikes finalist and the Tar Heels' career strikeouts leader, was the highest-drafted unsigned player from 2003 (Tampa Bay, third round).
The Dodgers took Texas high school lefty Clayton Kershaw with the first of their two first-round picks, and selected Motlow State (Tenn.) C.C. righty Bryan Morris at No. 26. Morris was back in the draft after failing to reach an agreement with Arizona, which took him in last year's third round.
University of Texas outfielder Drew Stubbs went next to Cincinnati, followed by New Jersey high school infielder Billy Rowell to Baltimore. San Francisco rounded out the top 10 picks by taking Washington right-handed strikeout artist Tim Lincecum.
Arizona took Missouri righty Max Scherzer with the 11th pick; Texas selected Alabama high school lefty Kasey Kiker; the Chicago Cubs went with Clemson outfielder Tyler Colvin; and Toronto selected Washington high school outfielder Travis Snider. With its first two selections, Washington took Florida high school third baseman Chris Marrero at No. 15 and Florida high school righty Colton Willems at No. 22.
Virginia high school righty Jeremy Jeffress went next to Milwaukee, and San Diego took Wake Forest third baseman Matt Antonelli. Texas high school right-hander/shortstop Kyle Drabek, the son of former Cy Young Award winner Doug Drabek, was selected by Philadelphia.
Missouri State righty Brett Sinkbeil went to Florida; and Minnesota took California high school outfielder Chris Parmelee to cap the first 20 selections.
The New York Yankees then drafted Southern California right-hander Ian Kennedy.
At No. 23, Houston went with Florida high school catcher Max Sapp; followed by Florida high school outfielder John Johnson to Atlanta; and California high school catcher Hank Conger to the Los Angeles Angels.
Boston had two consecutive picks, taking South Carolina high school outfielder Jason Place and North Carolina right-hander Daniel Bard at Nos. 27 and 28.
The Chicago White Sox then took Texas righty Kyle McCulloch, the ace of last year's College World Series champions. Northeastern right-hander Adam Ottavino was the last pick of the first round, going to St. Louis at No. 30.
A total of 18 pitchers were taken in the first round, two shy of the record set in 1999 and tied in 2001.