Crown Gems: My Faulty Memory, Luke Hochevar, and Quality Artwork


In this edition of Crown Gems; re-examining my memory of the days leading up to the 2006 draft, some disheartening words about the player the Royals took 1st overall in that draft, some news on a handful of former Royals, more good stuff from Baseball Beginnings, and a shout out to a family member.

Let’s get right into it, shall we?Wally Fish Blue Smile

Reader “geo” left a comment on my Royals Rotten Decade (2006) post from yesterday:

I have to beg to differ on Hochevar, as I heard his name in conjunction with the Royals more than once starting around a couple of weeks before the draft. In fact, some of the stuff I heard was along the lines of the Royals were going to pick either Hochevar or Lincecum. We must follow different sources.

At the time most of my information on the subject came from Sports Radio 810, and more directly from Soren Petro’s show.  I can’t say for sure who he was interviewing at the time or that I even remembered it correctly, but after the comment from geo I did some digging and found that my assessment was off base.  Contrary to what I stated yesterday, Hochevar was in fact tied to the Royals prior to the morning of the draft.  The following is from the write-up of the 2006 draft in Baseball America’s Draft Almanac:

The Royals had the top overall pick and narrowed their choices down to three pitchers, with Hochevar, Lincoln, and Miller all under consideration.  Complicating matters, the Royals fired general manager Allard Baird during the spring and replaced him with Braves farm director Dayton Moore, though Moore wasn’t able to leave the Braves until after the draft.  Word filtered out that Moore favored Texas outfielder Drew Stubbs, the consensus No. 2 hitter on most draft boards.

So either my memory of the days leading up to the 2006 draft was faulty, or the expert(s) that Soren had on his show in the weeks and days preceding the draft had a very different impression of the Royals plans than did Baseball America and other sources.  I know my memory isn’t the greatest on some topics, but I do distinctly remember Lincoln and Lincecum reportedly under consideration and Lincecum doesn’t appear in the BA write up.  Considering we really don’t know who was the real driving force behind the Royals draft decisions that year, it shouldn’t be all that surprising that there were conflicting reports on what player Kansas City was leaning toward.  Deric Ladnier, Royals scouting director at the time, gets the blame for the failures, but I don’t buy for a second that he was at the top of the food chain or just going off the board that was constructed under the Allard Baird regime.

Dayton’s interest in Stubbs is an interesting side note that I was unaware of.  By the way, I strongly encourage anyone who loves the draft to pick up a copy of the Draft Almanac.

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While we are on the topic, today’s ESPN Sportsnation Chat with Baseball America’s Jim Callis featured the following question and answer regarding Luke Hochevar.

Mike (KC)
Luke Hochevar fanned 80 over his final 85 last year – reason for optimism?

Jim Callis (2:20 PM)
I’ll believe it when I see it. He’s too inconsistent and I don’t believe in his mental toughness.

Not exactly the words I want to see coming from the keyboard of Callis.  We’ve seen the stuff, we’ve seen the talent, and we’ve certainly seen the inconsistency.  Whether he’s lacking mental toughness or still tipping his pitches, the Royals really need him to figure it out.

If he was tipping pitches in 2009, the addition of Getz, Podsednik, and the other former White Sox won’t be able to help Luke fix the problem.  Last season Hochevar was 2-0 with a 2.40 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, and 2.67 SO/BB in 15.0 IP against Chicago.

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From former White Sox to former Royals …

LHP-Brian Shouse signed a minor league contract with the Boston Red Sox today.

CF-Carlos Beltran had minor surgery on his knee today, he might miss the season opener, and the procedure may have been done without the permission of the New York Mets.  Uh-oh …

Yesterday, RHP-Brian Bass, who was the Royals 6th round pick in the 2000 draft, agreed to a minor league contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates.  He never made it to the majors with Kansas City, but has pitched for the Orioles and Twins in the last two seasons.

The Royals 1st round pick in the 2003 draft, OF-Chris Lubanksi officially signed his minor league deal with the Toronto Blue Jays yesterday.  He is still looking for his first taste of major league action.

2B-Mark Grudzielanek signed a minor league contract with the Cleveland Indians.

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From former Royals to potential future Royals draft picks …

Report:  A.J. Cole, RHP, Oviedo (FL) HS

Report:  Josh Rutledge, SS, Alabama

Video:  Justin O’ Connor, INF, Cowan (IN) HS

Video:  Chad Lewis, 3B, Marina (CA) HS

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Finally I wanted to take a moment to thank my wife’s cousin, Dan O’ Donoghue.  He is the artistic talent responsble for the creation of the official “baseball fish” logo featured at the top of this post.  He’s got talent and he has a blog, so go check it out.

It appears that my evening has gotten away from me so this is my only post for today.  I’ll be back tomorrow with an edition of Sluggerrr Snacks to recap some of the recent Royals news and links.  I hope to get the 2007 edition of the Royals Rotten Decade series published as well.

(Wally Fish is the lead blogger for Kings of Kauffman and FanSided’s MLB Director.  Subscribe to his RSS feed and add him on Twitter to follow him daily.)

Tags: AL Central Baseball Brian Bass Brian Shouse Carlos Beltran Chris Lubanski Kansas City Royals KC Luke Hochevar Mark Grudzielanek MLB Royals