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Sunday, September 10, 2006

 

Hochevar Takes Wichita to the Championship

It was his first Wichita start, and it was a game that could have sent the team to the championship series. Luke Hochevar had never faced this level of talent before. He was still being worked in after spending most of the year off the mound. He hadn't picked up a win so far in his professional career. Fans wanted to see what the first overall pick, Kansas City's $5 million draft pick, was capable of. The pressure was on in so many different ways and Luke Hochevar came through big.

The pressure was on for Luke, but he didn't care. In a report filed for MLB.com, he was reported as saying "I wasn't nervous, more amped than anything. I was ready to get after it and attack hitters." He also added, "I feel like I executed pitches better than at any time in the Minors. Early on, I had very good command. Velocity-wise, I was amped, so the ball was coming out a little better." It sounded like he brought the same mentality to Wichita that he was known for in Tennessee. He took the first games seriously even though he wasn't playing. He used the time to measure up the other batters and figure his strategy for his own start.

Hochevar did pitch a good game, going 5.1 innings with 2 runs and 7 strikeouts. He had a no-hitter through those first five innings but struggled a little in the sixth as he gave up those two runs. However, the Wranglers had built up a comfortable 7-run lead before then so it wasn't a problem. Things got close when Neal Musser and Gabe DeHoyos gave up four runs but the Wranglers held on the the win.

Look for Luke to get one more start as the Wichita Wranglers try to win the Texas League Championship. If the series goes to game 5, he might be valuable in a relief role after his start, but I wouldn't expect the team to push him too hard.

Here's his line:
5.1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 7 Ks, for the Win

Monday, September 04, 2006

 

Promoted to Wichita

I was gone on vacation for the week but it was a pretty good week for Luke Hochevar. Here are the lines he put up while I was gone:

August 26, 2006, Burlington vs. Kane County:
3.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K

That's a solid outing and he had another one I missed where he looked more mortal.

September 1, 2006, Burlington vs. Quad Cities:
6 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 6 K, Loss

The two runs he gave up were home runs but the important part is that they're finally letting go of the pitch count and letting him show what he's capable of. While he got his first loss, he must have looked good because the organization still decided to promote him to Double-A Wichita afterwards. They have made the playoffs so Luke will get a little more playing time. With the way their rotation is, it wouldn't surprise me to see Luke get a start. Their two main starters have ERAs over 5.

So to close off the Burlington chapter of Luke's career, hopefully for good, here's his season line:
0-1, 15.1 IP, 16 K, 1.17 ERA, .148 AVG, 2 BB

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