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08/03/2006 12:26 PM ET
Royals, No. 1 pick Luke Hochevar agree to terms
Kansas City signs Hochevar to four-year Major League deal
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KANSAS CITY -- The Kansas City Royals have agreed to terms on a four-year Major League contract (through 2009) with Luke Hochevar, the No. 1 overall pick from the 2006 June Free Agent Draft, Royals Senior Director-Scouting Deric Ladnier announced today.

Hochevar will sign the contract on Saturday, Aug. 5 and be placed on the Royals 40-man roster. He is only the fourth No. 1 overall pick in the last 20 years to sign a Major League contract, joining Delmon Young (2003), Pat Burrell (1998) and Alex Rodriguez (1993). Hochevar signed his contract quicker than three of the last four No. 1 overall picks. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Hochevar (pronounced ho-chay-vur) was a consensus first-team All-America selection (Baseball America, Louisville Slugger, Sports Weekly, NCBWA) at the University of Tennessee in 2005 and was the winner of the Roger Clemens National Pitcher of the Year Award. The SEC Pitcher of the Year was a finalist for the Golden Spikes and Brooks Wallace awards as well last season.

"We are excited to get Luke signed in a timely fashion, which is a tribute to Luke and the Glass family" 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."

Hochevar, 22, was a sandwich pick between the first and second round (40th overall) by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2005 after he was also drafted by the Dodgers out of high school in the 39th round in 2002.

Prior to the draft, Hochevar was pitching for the Independent League Fort Worth Cats, where he posted a 1-1 record and a 2.38 ERA in four starts (22.2 IP, 7 R, 6 ER, 11 BB, 34 SO).

Hochevar was 15-3 with a 2.26 ERA in 19 starts (139.2 IP, 104 H, 46 R, 35 ER, 54 BB, 154 SO) for the Volunteers a year ago, leading the Vols to the 2005 NCAA College World Series. His 15 wins tied the school record for single-season wins, while he established a new school record with 154 strikeouts. He held opponents to a .204 average for the season. He threw three complete games, including a one-hitter at Auburn, the first by a Volunteer since 1996.

Hochevar finished his three-year career with a 25-10 record and a 3.05 ERA in 51 career appearances for Tennessee, including 33 starts and six complete games. His 287 career strikeouts ranked second in Tennessee history. He was also a standout off the field, earning 2004 SEC Academic Honor Roll honors and was named to the 2004 SEC Goodworks Team for his efforts in the community.

Following the 2004 season, Hochevar anchored Team USA's pitching staff, going 1-0 with a 2.73 ERA with 38 strikeouts in a team-high 33 innings, which culminated with a terrific performance against Japan in the Gold Medal Game of the World University Championship. After allowing two runs and three hits in the first inning, he allowed just two more hits in the next six innings, at one point retiring 18 consecutive batters to earn the win.

Following his career with the Vols, he was named the 2006 Male Amateur Athlete of the Year by the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame and is the first ever No. 1 overall pick from the University of Tennessee.

He was a standout at Fowler High School in Fowler, Colo., where he was coached by his father and was a three-time All-State selection, posting a 1.19 ERA with 97 strikeouts in 47 innings as a senior, while slugging 13 home runs with a .622 average and 38 RBI. He was 7-0 with a 0.88 ERA as a junior, striking out 96 batters in 47.2 innings after going 6-3 with a 2.73 ERA with 81 strikeouts in 43.2 innings as a sophomore. Hochevar was the Division 2A Player of the Year and was an All-Colorado selection in basketball, averaging 22.0 points, 10.5 rebounds and 7.6 blocks per game as a senior. He averaged 22.6 points per game and 11 rebounds per game as a junior.

Hochevar is the sixth player in Royals history drafted out of the University of Tennessee, joining RHP Kevin Tuck (18th round, 1983), INF Joe Randa (11th round, 1991), LHP Paul Fletcher (24th round, 1992), INF Walter Sevilla (34th round, 2003) and RHP Patrick Hicklen (16th round, 2004).

Luke Anthony Hochevar was born Sept. 15, 1983 and is the son of Brian and Carmen Hochevar. His father played professional basketball for the Denver Nuggets in 1979, while his mother played college basketball and volleyball at Southern Colorado. His sister, Brittany, was a two-time All-American at Long Beach State and now plays professional volleyball in Puerto Rico. Luke's younger brother, Dylan, is a junior in high school and has earned honorable mention all-state honors in football, basketball and baseball.

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