Thursday was a great day for Royals fans. The morning brought news that the Royals reached an agreement with their first round pick, Luke Hochevar, after a two-month holdout. And in the evening, third baseman Alex Gordon hit his 20th home run of the season, matching his 20 stolen bases to join the 20/20 club.
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The Good News:
Luke Hochevar has agreed to a contract with the Royals, which he's expected to formally sign on Saturday. No official details of the deal have yet been released, but it's believed that the contract is similar to the one the Mets gave Mike Pelfrey last year -- a four-year Major League contract worth a guaranteed $5.3 million with incentives that could raise the overall total to $7 million.
Hochevar immediately becomes the Royals' top pitching prospect, and he'll report to Arizona to build his pitch count up for a couple of weeks before reporting to Burlington, where he's tentatively scheduled to make his first start on August 16. After finishing the season with the Bees, it's expected that Hochevar will report to the Instructional League, and he'll finish the season pitching in the Arizona Fall League.
It was an expensive sign for Kansas City, and RC is never thrilled when a draftee is given a Major League contract, but the Royals knew that's what it would take to sign Hochevar before they drafted him. We're just looking forward to seeing him pitch, and it's great to finally have him in the organization.
As we mentioned above, Alex Gordon hit his 20th home run of the season for the Wranglers, becoming the first player in the Texas League this season to join the 20/20 club. Gordon has now hit eight home runs in his last 17 games, and his 20/20 feat is just one more statistic that highlights precisely how talented he is.
It's easy to forget that this is merely Gordon's first season in professional baseball, and he's putting up these numbers (an OPS over .970) having never played an inning below Double-A. Gordon is going to be a fun player to watch for a long time.
Daniel Cortes, who was acquired in the MacDougal trade, bounced back from his rough first outing with Burlington to post an excellent start on Thursday. Cortes picked up his first Midwest League win over Clinton after pitching 6.0 innings, striking out nine while allowing five hits, three walks, and two earned runs.
RC sat down for an interview with Cortes the night after he arrived in Burlington last week, and you can read the transcript here.
The Bad News:
Unfortunately, the other player acquired in the MacDougal trade -- Tyler Lumsden -- didn't have a great night. Lumsden was hit in the arm by a line drive in the first inning of his start for the Wranglers on Thursday, and he had to leave the game. The injury has been reported in the media as an "injured leg," but some RC readers who were at the game -- as well as the Wranglers' play-by-play man -- believe the injury was actually to his left arm. We'll monitor the situation, but hopefully whatever's wrong with Lumsden isn't serious enough to cause him to miss extended time.
RC is pleased to report that we've planned a trip to Idaho Falls to see the Chukars in action later this month. We'll take in five Pioneer League games in mid-August, and we plan to deliver interviews and photos of many of the young prospects duking it out in the rookie leagues. It promises to be an exciting trip, and we're looking forward to it.
By the way, if you have any requests from players whom you'd like to hear from, we set up a thread on our message board to solicit ideas and input. You can access it here.
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