When can Hughes help?

What to do with all these pitchers
Josh Phelps can help this team

Damian at Project Prospect took a crack at answering that question, and concludes with this:

It’s not until we start looking at some of the all time greats – Pedro Martinez, Roger Clemens… – that we see pitchers called up this young without struggling. Of course, it is possible Hughes will end up being an all time great but it’s far more likely he’s going to struggle a little in his first season or two. Yankees fans need to keep this in mind as they watch him grow.

New York can be a very difficult place to struggle. Jose Contreras comes to mind as an example of an extremely talented pitcher who couldn’t get it together in pinstripes. Hughes is likely going to have his ups and downs before he settles in as the pitcher he’s going to be throughout his career.

Have some patience with him. He’ll be a fine pitcher some day.

The whole piece is well worth the read, and really puts one key fact into perspective: almost all young pitchers struggle early on in their careers.

FYI– If you think Hughes dominated Double-A last year, take a quick look at the numbers put up by Rick Ankiel at that level at the same age, cited in the article. Can’t help but wonder just how good he could have been.

What to do with all these pitchers
Josh Phelps can help this team
  • Rob

    This is why I’ve been so wary of the hype on Hughes. Not because I don’t think he’s a great prospect… but because it seemed like everyone was calling for him to start the year in the Yankee rotation and immediately be the best starter on the team! That’s a little nutty. He was roughed up in his first start or two at AA. He then adjusted and dominated the league. Ok, I’d expect similar bumps at AAA, and then again at the MLB level.

  • http://www.evilhandproductions.com Damian Dydyn

    Rob, I mostly agree with your post, though I think the acclimation process in the majors will be a bit longer than it was in AA for him. Likewise, AAA should be longer, but not as long as when he arrives in New York finally. And of course, all of this is assuming he’s called up later this season or to start next season. If the Yankees (for whatever reason) decide to wait until his age 23 or 24 season, all bets are off (see: Oswalt, Roy). But most of the pitchers I referenced in that piece struggled for a full season or more before settling in and becoming great pitchers. I expect the same will be true for Hughes, and that’s not an indication of anything other than he’s young and he’s never faced hitters like this on a consistant basis.

    I just hope Yankees fans can be patient with him, because he’s likely going to have a very good career at worst, and a phenominal one at best. His ceiling is remarkably high. Then again, as a Red Sox fan, I kinda hope they’ll boo him out of town and a small market team we won’t have to face 19 times a year will scoop him up. :)