RC interviews Luke Hochevar...
Luke Hochevar today was selected by the Royals with the first overall pick in the 2006 MLB Draft. Royals Corner had an opportunity to speak with him this afternoon, and the transcript of our conversation is presented below.
Royals Corner: Luke, first off we'd like to congratulate you on your first overall selection in this year's draft. It must be quite a rush.
Luke Hochevar: Thanks. It's been a very humbling experience.
RC: Luke, what was your reaction when you heard the news today? We're you expecting it...Had you been told that you'd be selected at #1?
LH: Scott [Boras] called me this morning before the draft, and I was beside myself when I heard. I didn’t even know what to say. I feel like I have a great opportunity to pitch for a for a great organization, and I'm excited to get started.
RC: You signed a contract to pitch with the Fort Worth Cats this spring as a showcase. How do you think the level of competition you faced in the independent league compared with what you saw in Division I college ball, and what you expect to see in the minors?
LH: I thought the competition was better due to the fact the guys are older and more experienced. They control the strike zone better and are more disciplined. The competition was more than I was expecting. I will continue to learn and get better in the areas I need to get better in. The people in Fort Worth, the front office, and the coaches were great for giving me the opportunity to pitch.
RC: Luke, can you give our readers an idea of your repertoire? What pitches do you throw at what speeds, and what would you consider your "go-to" pitch?
LH: I'm very comfortable throwing any pitch in any count. I throw a four-seam fastball at 93-95 and a sinker at 91-93. My change is usually around 80-83, and my curveball is normally between 78-81. I also throw a slider at 85-87. I feel like I have the confidence to go to any pitch in any count. My best breaking pitch is my curveball, but my out pitch is my slider. And my bread and butter is my sinking fastball.
RC: What current Major Leaguer would you compare yourself to?
LH: I really admire Roger Clemens, for his work ethic and the way competes. He is the greatest of all-time -- very professional, and he competes his tail off. Greg Maddux is another guy with a great work ethic. He is a bulldog, and a great pitcher.
RC: Do you have any personal timetable for reaching the Major Leagues?
LH: That will be up to the team. I’ll work my butt off give everything I’ve got. After I sign, I’ll bust my tail and help the organization by getting after it.
RC: Have the Royals given you any idea where you'll start once you sign... Double-A perhaps?
LH: That too will be up to the team. There will be further discussion about where I will start. I'm just ready to get going.
RC: Luke, what has been your favorite moment in your baseball career?
LH: Going to the College World Series with Tennessee, and spending time with guys on team. All the guys were great, and I have made lifelong friends. Also, winning the Roger Clemens award and shaking his hand on stage was an honor in itself.
RC: Luke, we've taken up enough of your time, and I'm sure there are other people who want to talk to you today. Thank you for speaking with us, and we can't wait for you to sign and get to business in the minors. Good luck!
LH: Thanks, it was good talking with you.