Is Luke Hochevar set to join Justin Huber and Billy Butler as the third straight Royal to win the Futures All-Star Game MVP? We'll find out today when he takes the mound for Team U.S.A. at 3 p.m. CT.
Hochevar's stats for Double-A Wichita don't look impressive -- 4.69 ERA and 3-6 record -- but for his first full professional season, he's performing adequately. In 94 innings, he holds a healthy strikeout-to-walk ratio of 3.6-to-1 with 94 strikeouts (9.0 is a very good K/9 rate). The problem seems to be when opponents get the bat on the ball -- they're hitting .286 off him with 13 home runs -- but he can learn to manage that as time goes on.
MLB.com says about him:
Hochevar relied on his slider in college, but the Royals want to see him increase his pitch options and have pushed him to develop his plus-plus, late-breaking curveball. If he can develop some consistency with that repertoire, Hochevar could be in the Royals rotation by Opening Day 2008, with a preview coming this September.
You can follow him and other Royals prospects over at the wonderful resource that is The Pipeline.
A few other relevant links:
- Baseball Think Factory's 2006 draft recap (Hochevar graded A-)
- 2007 Futures Game rosters
- Billy Butler: All-Star MVP
- Justin Huber: All-Star MVP
POSTSCRIPT: Humor by juxtaposition. As this is the team the Royals are chasing for fourth place, here are the line scores for two White Sox games on Friday:
MIN 4 1 1 6 2 0 4 2 0 R:20 H:21: E:1
CHI 0 3 1 0 3 1 2 1 3 R:14 H:18: E:5
MIN 3 0 2 0 1 0 6 0 0 R:12 H:15 E:0
CHI 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 R:0 H:5 E:0
And for a little contrast, here's the line score to last night's Mets-Astros game, which featured a terrific, truly game-saving catch by our old friend Carlos Beltran:
NYM 0 0 0 0 2 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 R:5 H:17 E:0
HOU 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 R:3 H:10 E:0
Baseball has a sense of humor.
EDITOR'S NOTE: I'll be live-blogging the home run derby tomorrow night, so please join me at 7 p.m. Central Time, 8 Eastern and 5 Pacific. We'll have a nice, healthy conversation about baseball and whatever else over whiskey and Cognac. Okay, maybe Bud and Miller Lite. Still, it'll be fun. I've got a correspondent who'll be at AT&T Park -- she's an intern for Gatorade -- and relaying us tidbits. Let's hope she spikes someone's drink.