Yesterday former first overall pick Luke Hochevar signed his second professional deal. He should thank the MLB player’s union because he got much more than he deserved after the stinker of a year he put up last season. The current CBA says that if a player resigns with the current team, the player’s salary can’t be cut more than 20% from the last contract. Thanks to that rule, he is going to earn $1.76 million for this season (assuming he makes the Royal’s starting roster).
His last two seasons in the majors he has gone 6-12/5.51/1.47 in 2008 and 7-13/6.55/1.49 in 2009. His only glowing stats are when he pitches in Omaha, where he is 6-2/2.01/1.07 over the past two years in 11 starts. Clearly he has the stuff to dominate in AAA but for some reason he just can’t put it together in the majors. You could make a case that it is the Royals, and they really don’t provide much run support. But given his ERA was north of 6 runs per game, there aren’t many teams that can provide that kind of run support on a game to game basis.
Hochevar needs to reincarnate himself. He needs to develop a different pitch or a different delivery. Clearly it’s not deceptive enough for major leaguers. The contract that he signed with the Royals could possibly be the only major league contract he could have gotten this off season. It is way more than he would have gotten from any other team. About a $1 million more than any other team would have paid to sign him.
His autograph value has steadily been going down. There was a point about 3 years ago when his value was around $50 – $75 per autograph, now you should be able to get his autograph for between $8 – $12 (including the one pictured below which went for $11 on eBay not long ago). This could be his last chance to prove that he is MLB worthy, his next contract will probably not be with the Royals if it’s more of the same.