(Icon Sportswire via AP Images)

Two Cy Young Award winners were selected after Hochevar during the first round of the 2006 MLB Draft.

By Kaelen Jones
August 14, 2018

Former No. 1 pick and Royals pitcher Luke Hochevar has retired from baseball, he told MLB.com on Monday. The 34-year-old right-hander underwent thoracic outlet surgery in order to ease pain in his lower neck and shoulder area in August 2016. As he attempted to rehab, he discovered he couldn't throw without pain. 

When the Royals honored their World Series-winning squad last weekend at Kaufmann Stadium, Hochevar admitted he could not even throw out the first pitch without pain.

"There was just no way," he told MLB.com. "That was it. I got up to the 80 percent [recover] which you're supposed to and it just wasn't working. It was hurting just to throw. No way I could have ever gotten back to this level to get guys out. Just too much pain."

Hochevar, chosen by Kansas City first overall in the 2006 MLB draft. He is the only No. 1 draft selection the Royals' franchise have ever made. He began his career as a part of the club's starting rotation. By 2013, he was shifted to the bullpen.

Hochevar flourished in the role and posted a remarkable 1.92 ERA across 70 1/3 innings in 58 appearances during the 2013 season. After sitting out the 2014 season because of Tommy John surgery, he returned in 2015 to help the Royals to their first World Series title since 1985. He even drew a winning decision in the series-clinching victory. His made his final pro appearance in 2016.

There could be case to be made against suggesting Hochevar was a total bust. He did pitch nine years at the major-league level and has a World Series ring.

However, many will point to some of the other notable pitchers drafted in the 2006 class shortly after Hochever who went on to forge standout careers.

Below are some of the players chosen in the first round of the same draft that did.

Player, Current Team Pick, Team Years Active Notable
Evan Longoria, San Francisco Giants No. 3, Tampa Bay Devil Rays 2008-current 3x All-Star (2008-2010), AL Rookie of the Year (2008), 3x Gold Glove (2009, 2010, 2017), Silver Slugger Award (2009)
Andrew Miller, Cleveland Indians No. 6, Detroit Tigers 2006-current 2x All-Star (2016, 2017), World Series champion (2013), AL Reliever of the Year (2015), ALCS MVP (2016)
Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers No. 7, Los Angeles Dodgers 2008-current 7x All-Star (2011-2017), NL MVP (2014), 3x NL Cy Young Award (2011, 2013, 2014), Triple Crown (2011), Gold Glove (2011), 3x NL wins leader (2011, 2014, 2017), 5x NL ERA leader (2011-2014, 2017), 3x NL strikeout leader (2011, 2013, 2015), 1 no-hitter (2014)
Tim Lincecum, Free Agent No. 10, San Francisco Giants 2007-current 3x World Series champion (2010, 2012, 2014), 2x NL Cy Young Award (2008, 2009), 3x NL strikeout leader (2008-2010), 4x All-Star (2008-2011), 2 no-hitters (2013, 2014)
Max Scherzer, Washington Nationals No. 11, Arizona Diamondbacks 2008-current 6x All-Star (2013-2018), 3x Cy Young Award (2013, 2016, 2017), 3x wins leader (2013, 2014, 2016), 2x NL strikeout leader (2016, 2017), 2 no-hitters (2015), tied-MLB record for strikeouts in a nine-inning game (20, 2016)
Jeremy Jeffress, Milwaukee Brewers No. 16, Milwaukee Brewers 2010-current 1x All-Star (2018)

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