How Hughes has changed my perspective on Melky

Eric Hacker is not a fan of pitch counts
Four days of infamy

No, yesterday’s game was not pretty — and that’s an understatement. We watched a series of poor at bats combined with the sloppiest defense I’ve seen in quite a while. Oh yeah, and Phil Hughes didn’t exactly make things any better. The youngest pitcher in the majors didn’t even record an out in the fourth inning, leaving the game in the hands of a bullpen that will surely be tested over the next few weeks.

Of course, knee-jerk Yankees fans were quick to heap the insults on Hughes. I got one email that said keeping Hughes (not trading him for Santana) would be a move we’d regret for the next six years. I got plenty which noted that, once again, Hughes’s velocity wasn’t up to his scouting reports. True, many of these came from people watching the Kansas City broadcast — the gun was clearly slow in the Midwest. But the complaints rolled in nonetheless.

I found myself doing what I’ve done for the past year and change: Defending Hughes. I sometimes feel as if I want him to succeed so badly that I refuse to see the negatives he presents. But then I step back and remember that we’ve seen what he can do. I’ve seen it in his stats, and I’ve seen him do it to major league hitters.

But then I think back to what we all agreed on before the season even began. No one thought this would be a cruise ship season. You’re going to hit bumps with your young pitchers, especially when one of them is the youngest pitcher in the majors. Yesterday, we hit a bump. To see it any other way is, in my opinion, just plain shortsighted.

So what does this have to do with Melky Cabrera?

It’s no secret that I’m not the biggest Melky fan. I watch him at the plate, and I sometimes cringe at the hacks he takes. And I always see him taking circuitous routes to balls in the outfield, especially line drives.

The response most heard to my complaints: He’s young. And as you can see above, I constantly use the same defense for Hughes. I’ve said before that youth does not guarantee progress, but it certainly leaves the door open.

It’s completely conceivable that through experience Melky learns how to play line drives, especially those over his head. In fact, it can be said that the only way he can possibly get better at playing them is to, well, play them. This is no guarantee, but there’s a point where it’s a good idea to leave him out there and let him learn. I think we’re still at that point now, considering the alternatives.

So, because I’m so quick to defend Phil, I don’t think it’s quite fair of me to continually bash Melky. Yes, he frustrates me plenty. But on the other hand, Phil frustrates his share of Yankees fans, too. We’re going to have to learn to let these players grow, though. And if they don’t, well, that’s why the team has an aggressive plan to build the farm system.

Next time I rail on Melky for this or that, please, remind me of this post.

Game note: Just checked the Gameday data for Phil’s outing. His fastball was 91-92 the entire first inning. He slipped a few in under 90 in the second inning, but was still for the most part 90-92. He threw a lot more under 90 in the third inning. Ditto the fourth. So I’m not sure what to make of all that. But the reports of him throwing 86 are greatly exaggerated.

Also, this is kinda strange. With Billy Butler on second and two outs in the third, Hughes threw six pitches to Ross Gload, none of which were fastballs…he topped out at 78 for the at bat. The next batter, John Buck saw nothing but fastballs (though none topped 90). The strangest part of all is that he walked both guys.

Eric Hacker is not a fan of pitch counts
Four days of infamy
  • Ramadan

    Phil Hughes is just ok and nothing special. Johnny Cueto is special!!!

    • Jamal G.

      You are special.

      • Ramadan

        I just don’t see greatness and I pray to God I’m wrong.

        • Jamal G.

          How can you say that when you’ve seen what he has done in a pennant race in September and in the post season?

  • Rich

    ERA (first full season)

    Roger Clemens age 21: 4.32
    Randy Johnson age 25: 4.82
    Greg Maddux age 21: 5.61
    Andy Pettitte age 23: 4.17

    Phil is 21. Just sayin’.

  • kunaldo

    rich is on point….most guys dont start out amazingly as a full time starter….joba was different b/c he was doing 1, maybe 2 innings at a time….if phil is around a 4.00 ERA, i think we should all be happy w/ that….that would still be half a run below league avg

  • Jamal G.

    According to CJ, a healthy Alberto Gonzalez was pulled towards the end of SWB’s 1-0 L tonight. He has nothing official on a call-up but like he said, healthy SS don’t get pulled from the game for fun.

  • Zack

    Yeah, but Hughes doesn’t throw 95 MPH, he’s never going to be a true ace, so how can you have any confidence in him? HE ONLY THROWS 90 MPH!!!11!!!1111!!!

    • Justin

      Where does it say that an ace has to throw 95 mph? Where did you get that information from? I remember a certain trio of pitchers for the Braves in the 90s that collected a whole bunch of Cy Young awards and helped the team make the playoffs a whole bunch of times in a row. Only 1 of them could sit at 95 and he has has collected 1 Cy Young. The other two, who you may recognize, Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux sat 90-93 with movement and tremendous breaking stuff and they have 6 trophies between them and have each won over 300 games. That is what Hughes has to work with and develop. Have some patience and don’t worry so much about the radar gun.

      • Travis G.

        i think he’s being sarcastic.

  • dookie

    Add Carl Pavano to the injury watch. The Yankees are going to need him to fill innings. If you guys are so convinced that a 21-year-old Phil Hughes is going to struggle because of his age, then what exactly is the argument for 22-year-old Joba Chamberlain as an ace starter later this season after every team has already seen him up close, many of those teams multiple times? [BLANK]

    Add Carl Pavano to the watch list. This site should be good for news other than “I hate 24-year-old Melky Cabrera because [BLANK]”.

    Everybody enjoys watching the young talent come to fruition, but you same dunces who think Hughes, IPK and Joba are going to pitch us to the pennant are the same nut jobs who will be calling for Cashman’s head by the All-Star break because he nixed the Santana deal. The simple fact is that if the Yankees cannot call upon guys like Carl Pavano and Darrell Rasner to fill innings at almost the same level of quality as the “Big Three”, then the Yankees are dead already.

    Simple fact: If Hughes and IPK stay healthy and pitch well they are going to hit their innings cap in late-August. If a guy like Carl Pavano is not around to step up, the Yankees are dead. If Hughes and IPK are not hitting their innings cap in late-August it means that they have either been hurt or pitched very poorly, and the Yankees are likewise dead if a guy like Carl Pavano is not around to fill the void.

    Add Carl Pavano to the watch list.

    • Count Zero

      I can’t believe you actually used “Pavano” and “step up” in the same sentence. At least your handle is appropriate.

    • Ben K.

      Stop posting the same thing in every thread.

    • Justin

      I don’t know why you think Pavano will be able to eat innings. He hasn’t pitched in the bigs in over 2 years. He’s just as much of a question mark as any rookie right now…clearly not the answer.

    • CLT_JR

      Is this Carl Pavano???

  • AndrewYF

    Really? The Yankees are dead without Carl Pavano? What do you call…well, the last three years? They certainly have survived without him. Just let it go. He’s done, and he’s not coming back. dookie, are you Carl Pavano’s mother?

  • Jake

    Let me preface this by saying I am huge Phil fan and am thankful the Yanks didn’t trade him this offseason. But I don’t think it’s unreasonable to question whether the Hughes we’re seeing now is the same guy we saw prior to his injury last year–or the same strikeout/groundball machine with pinpoint control we saw in the minors. Rob Neyer, someone I usually think is pretty astute, said today that Hughes’ velocity is absolutely a concern, as it could point to either health or mechanics issues. Right now, neither his velocity nor control suggest future dominance. Not saying he won’t regain them, but I don’t think it’s heresy to question if something has changed.

    • Rich

      Wang and Rivera’s velocities have been down as well, at least according the YES gun. Should that be a cause for concern too?

      Hughes walked one batter in his first start in 6 IP and didn’t surrender a hit until the fourth inning. Why does one bad start necessarily suggest command issues, especially when the temperature was in the low 40s?

      It should be noted that Bannister walked four batters as well, after walking none in his first start.

      We need a far larger sample before drawing any meaningful conclusions.

  • steve

    the only good thing to come out of tonight is hughes threw what 3 innings? that means we probably got an extra start out of him in regards to his innings limit. heh

  • LiveFromNewYork

    Carl Pavano? I can’t even believe anyone has the guts to go there. Yeah, Carl Pavano is the answer to our issues.

    We had an ugly ugly spring last year and came within 3 of winning the AL East. Would all of the doom and gloomers please go stand over THERE.

    They’re not going to locate every time. Who knows what is going on ? Moose looked great, Phil looked horrible. We got a great game out of Moose, Farnsworth, Bruney and Hawkins. Who would have thought that. Then Phil and Ohlendorf were very roughed up and the calls were going against them. CMW pitched brilliantly the other day. Bobby Abreu almost got a cycle. Hideki is hitting again. Jeter is injured. Jorge is injured. Molina is not Nieves.

    We play 162 games. The sky is not falling. We cannot predict the greatness or suckiness of 21 year old pitchers. I’m not sure if anything has changed with Phil. Maybe he needs to go in the pen. Maybe he will. Too soon to tell.

    Jorge will get better. Jeter will get better. The weather will warm up. The bats will get hot. The youngsters will locate. And life will go on.

    It’s way too early to be this miserable. I hate this mentality of doom and gloom when the Yankees fall apart for one game or the “we’re winning it all!” when they play brilliantly. We have the capacity to do either. Let’s let the season play itself out a bit more before we all go jumping off a bridge or popping the champagne.

  • Bart

    You have to stop this Hughes defense thing — the failure of the front office was not keeping hughes – it ws failing to stay in the negotiations where Kennedy and Melky or even lesser talent might have secured Santana
    and Santana was desperately needed to allow the Kids whichever where kept to grow — Pettit won’t be effective long enough and the offense is a few untimely muscle pulls away from being innefective

    The risk was always that the offense would age too quickly to support Hughes Joba’s development — this is a small sample but a scary one

    Is it just what I have watched or have league pitchers decided simply to not throw AROD anyhting but breaking balls and hope for a pitchers count to maybe challenge up in the zone with a fastball

    and 10 years of darkness isore the potential

    — but we have to still be fans of our team one day at a time – tearing a these guys is not the answer

    • Ben K.

      Can we get something straight around here? And I know we’ve written about this before because we killed this topic over the winter. The Twins were not going to accept Ian Kennedy for Johan Santana.

      Everyone involved has made it abundantly clear that for the Twins to trade Santana to an AL competitor — something they clearly preferred NOT do — the asking price was going to be much higher than it was for the Mets. The Yankees would have had to give up at least Phil Hughes and Melky Cabrera, and that is not the makings of a good trade.

      As we’ve seen so far this year, an outfield of Matsui-Damon-Abreu is death to this team. (And, yes, I’m praising Melky.)

  • mustang

    Let me start by saying that I support Mr. Hughes or anyone on the mound pitching for the Yankees. However, I think its unfair to question fans patronage and ask them to leave this site just because they don’t agree with so called “Big Three” or what is posted.
    Of Mr. Hughes “he negativity around him really needs to stop.” Why ? Are we suppose to hold hands and channel positive waves towards Mr. Hughes. I’m sure whatever negative points of views people have here will not effect Mr. Hughes one way or the other.
    I though that RAB was a open forum to discuss and comment on issues related to the Yankees. I did not think it was a support group for so called “Big Three” and their fans.

    • Ben K.

      You also stop posting the exact same thing in multiple threads. We heard you the first time. No one’s stifling criticism. We’re just asking baseball fans to be a bit informed before they start spouting off at the mouth.

  • Samples

    Hughes definitely wasn’t sharp like the last start, but you have to take into account some of the game factors before getting too overboard on the criticism. 1) It was really cold, drizzly, and windy. You could see his uniform waving in the wind all game. He was constantly blowing in his hand, reaching for the rosin bag, and it was obvious he couldn’t get a grip on the ball. He had a number of floating curves so far out of the zone that there is no other explanation than a lack of grip. 2) The home plate ump was out of his mind, for both teams. The Yankees got some calls on Bannister walks, but couldn’t capitalize. Hughes got squeezed a few times that put him in bad counts, which lead to more pitches, more foul balls, etc and drove up his pitch count. 3) Yanks bad defense put runners in scoring position THREE times, which lead to runs that otherwise might not have scored.

    That’s the game and sometimes you have to deal with those issues, but I liked the way he grinded and kept the team in it. With some better D, it might have been a different story.

  • RichYF

    Such doom and gloom. Carl Pavano is CLEARLY the answer. Pettitte won’t be effective long enough? What are you basing that on? A gut feeling?

    There was no deal for Santana that didn’t include Hughes. Cash said it himself. They wanted Hughes AND Wang at one point.

    I’m not even defending Hughes, but I’d rather watch him pitch every 5th day than say Bartolo Colon or some other washed up hack. He has a future. Whether or not he can get everything under control is to be determined. His location was definitely off yesterday, but I’m not going to throw a fit just yet.

    I don’t think people are saying, “This is the answer.” I think they’re saying, “This is a better alternative to trading away the farm for nothing.”

    If Melky does get traded, who plays CF? Oh right, I know, we would have just signed one of the FA CFers to 7 year deal so we can complain about that in 3 years when he sucks or gets hurt. Not to mention all of the decent FA CFers were signed by the time the Santana trade happened. It’s easy to just point fingers when things aren’t working out. Posada is hurt, Jeter is hurt, we wouldn’t have Melky. What kind of team would we be fielding?

    A-Rod is also terrible. How dare he strikeout FOUR times in one game. What a terrible contract he received.

    The answer is definitely not to trade away the young kids just to tread water in the AL East. It’s a rough division, but it’s not going to get easier next year. Planning for the future at least gives us a chance to contend. There are some big names hitting free agency next year. Keeping the kids and making smart decisions regarding free agents is exactly what needs to be done.

  • mustang

    Furthermore, what can you expect when you take 3 young players and hype them up like the media and this site have done. When you label them with such ridiculous lines as “the road to the Cy Young starts now” or the “Big Three”. You shouldn’t be shock or angry with equally as ridiculous negative comments.

    • Rich

      I think your time horizon is way too short. No one has talked about CYAs for any of them this season, or the probably next few. That doesn’t mean that they don’t have high end talent that won’t show itself over the course of the season. That’s why they are The Big Three, and will remain so.

    • RichYF

      “The Big Three” is a product of what could be. When is the last time the Yankees had prospects that stayed in their system long enough to be excited about? That’s all these guys are doing. They’re excited about the idea that maybe, just maybe, the kids we drafted will actually contribute and not be a part of some trade that brings in a 33+ year old hitter. That’s all it is. It’s hype. It’s not a guarantee. What kind of Yankees fans would they be if they didn’t get excited?

      I don’t think anyone expects Joba, Phil and Ian to be top of the rotation starters, but the fact that they all have that kind of ceiling makes things much more exciting. What if they all contribute the way that they can? We won’t NEED a Santana. We’ll have produced 2 or 3 of them for ~$500k a year. We won’t NEED to sign Carl Pavanos or CC Sabathias because we’ll have our own.

      If these 3 don’t work out, there’s always free agency. That’s the beauty of the Yankees. We can afford any player on the market. It only makes the team that much stronger to have a farm system chock full of quality young arms.

      I have defended Melky in the past, but it’s because I want him to succeed. Phil is only 21. By all rights he should still be in the minors. He has a lot of learning to do. Do I expect a Cy Young season? No. Not this year at least. Two starts does not a season make. If he’s still struggling in a month or so, then I’ll get a little more worried and start asking why.

    • Joseph P.

      Yeah, because “road to the Cy Young starts now” wasn’t a joke or anything. I think the third commenter on that thread figured it out.

      You’re throwing around a lot of accusations in this thread that have nothing to do with it. I know what you were talking about with your first comment, but that belongs on the appropriate thread. Nowhere in my post did I tell anyone to go elsewhere if they don’t like Hughes.

  • mustang

    Some of us hardcore Yankees fans don’t believe that they should of placed the final year of the Stadium in the hands of three kids. Some of us have and still do believe that Mr. Hughes or better Mr. Kennedy should of been package for Santana. So when or if they fail we are going to be critical of them. That does not mean we don’t support them.
    Santana would of probably had the same criticism the other way if he was a Yankee.

    • Ben K.

      I saw this argument in another thread and it’s just ridiculous. You’re willing to sacrifice the future based on some sentimentality argument concerning a stadium? That’s ridiculous.

  • Steve S

    I think to be fair what has been the issue here is that the people who have decided to put certain players on a pedestal, including the creation of T-shirts, havent been realistic about what this team can do this year. Phil Hughes is going to be great pitcher, not as good as Johan Santana from age 23-28, but I think he can be as good as Santana age 30-35. And thats been the issue, Santana for this year would have made this team incredibly good. But long term I think its hard to argue that the Yankees are better off with Hughes and Kennedy and the depth of young starting pitching. Hughes’ velocity is a concern but in reality the guy doesnt have to throw 95 to be great or to strikeout guys. His minor league numbers are indicative that he is capable of being dominant. It is disturbing that he is living at 91 when he was advertised at 94-96. But that should change the fact that as the youngest pitcher in the league he has shown glimpses of how dominant he can be. which is all you can really ask for at this stage in his career. Thats why its tough to swallow some of the arguments being made on this site. The Yankees still have a great chance to make the playoffs but when you are considering the fact that these kids will have their ups and downs throughout the season, its reasonable to say that this may be the year that they miss the playoffs. Which probably wouldnt have been the case had Johan Santana been a Yankee. Its difficult to win a world series and that is something a lot of Yankee fans lost sight of since 1996. Thats why when the team elects to go with a long term strategy with more short term risks, as opposed to a short term strategy with greater long term risks, its going to cause a lot of debate. And its not fair to sit there and say its a better long term strategy but were still as good as ever this year. When the yankees were signing Pavano and trading for Randy, they didnt have a choice, so I dont understand where the debate was. However, this year they had a choice and they went in a completely different direction which will open them up to second guessing whenever Hughes and Kennedy go three innings, which is completely foreseeable. And the same will happen when they transition Chamberlain into a starter and the first guy blows an eighth inning lead.

    And as for Hughes’ velocity , the weather may have something to do with it. But Im more concerned that the strategy with these pitchers within the Yankee organization has been to tell these kids to reserve their strength. I know it sounds random, but throughout the spring when Joba was stretching out as a starter he was 92-94 but the minute he transitioned to the bullpen he jumped to 97-98. This could be a combination of coaching and organizational development strategy. Im not sure whether its wise or harmful but it could be an explanation for why a guy who was scouted at 94 for three years could be like this the minute he hits the majors.

  • Chris

    I wouldn’t be too worried about Hughes velocity. He clearly had control issues as the game went on, and I would guess he was trying to ‘place the ball’ rather than pitching it. That probably cost him some speed in the later innings as his control deteriorated.

    Also, I watched Moyer hold the Mets to just 2 runs and I didn’t notice a single pitch over 80! I think the concern about 1-2 MPH difference in Hughes first two starts is way overstated.

  • Jt

    Answer me this? Who thinks Cole Hamels is an ace?

    He only tops out at 92 on his fastball.

    And what really is the difference between a 92 and 95 mph fastball? 100th of a second reaction time….

    • Joseph P.

      You’re also getting the speed when the ball leaves the pitcher’s hand.

      So if the ball leaves Phil’s hand at 91, but crosses the plate at, say, 87, and say, Johan Santana has the ball leave his hands at 93, but crosses at 85, well, what’s better?

  • marc

    man. usually im the Phil Hughes basher but come on… the injuries to sado and jetes are way more disheartening… if we as a fanbase really want to see these kids develop then patience is a strict requirement because it is so rare to see young pitchers not struggle out of the gate… and its not just a start or 2 its for a full season or 2 or 3 seasons. Its not easy to pitch that such a high level and it takes a long time to learn how to be successful. This is what we knew going in to this season and its going to constantly be a part of it. But we arent watching some 28 retread from japan or Aaron Small, or some c-list prospect… these 3 guys if they manage to stay healthy have serious upside but its will take a lot of bumps along the way for them to realize their potential and at the same time its going to take time for us to realize that not all 3 of them will.

  • Realist

    Only his second outing , albeit a not so good one , and people are screaming hat Hughes doesn’t have it or should have been traded for Santana????

    And I was called a “knee jerk” fan for suggesting a possible lineup change to spark the stagnant offense???????????????? Lmao!!!!!!!!!!!

    I have NEVER seen a pitcher go an entire season undefeated as a starter………….so why should Hughes be held to an impossible standard like that?

    Hey Clay B pitched a “no no” last year and looked pretty bad his last outing as well…………………………he’s young and will bounce back , just as Phil will.

    One game at a time oh impatient ones….

  • Yankee Fan in Chicago

    Yeah the issue is NOT his velocity — at least yesterday. He was throwing 90-92 most of the game. Which is in line with a spring in which he threw a few ticks harder in the warmer Fla weather. He seems a guy who’ll sit 92 and kick it up to 94-5 when he needs it.

    I don’t understand the KC Fox gun at all. What’d they have Bannister at? 80?
    B/c in gameday Bannister was sitting at 85 with HIS fastball. I wonder if KC fans flipped out the way certain Yankee fans did over the fact that their young star was only throwing 80. Hughes had a good 5mph on him.

    Per Joe’s last comment: yeah, according to gameday Hughes went to the changeup a lot in the 3rd. I took it as a bit of desperation. I guess he/Jorge figured if he can’t locate the fastball, maybe he can get the change over.

  • daneptizl

    You guys think Cervelli would have gotten the call-up had be not been injured?

  • CB

    Forget the radar gun. Look at how hitter’s are reacting to Phil’s fastball. That tells the story of whether or not its a quality pitch.

    Are hitters squaring it up? Are they taking good swings against it? Are they driving the ball?

    No they aren’t. Major league hitters have been consistently late on Hughes’ fastball since he came up – the only exception to that was last August when he was first coming back from the leg injuries.

    Ask Frank Thomas what he thinks of Hughes fastball.

    Now compare that to how hitters are able to square up one of Kyle’s 98mph offerings?

    It’s almost as if people would prefer Hughes to be more like Farnsworth just to placate their anxiety about whether or not phil will be an “Ace.”

    This year Justin Verlander is trying to throw his fastball at a slower speed because he’s hoping to pick up movement.

    Phil intentionally trades off velocity for movement. He’s talked about this on many occasions.

    He’s probably going to sit 91-93. Who cares if he’s getting outs.

    The notion that he might be hurt is unlikely but a possible concern.

    What I can’t get over is how people actually think he’s changed his mechanics and that’s the cause of this.

    The Yankees are a $1 billion organization. They have at their disposal resources I’m sure we can’t even imagine. So I find it amazing how one scouting report by some guy named Carlos Gomez set the entire blogosphere on fire and it’s gone on to become this meme all over yankee sites.

    Do you seriously think that Carlos Gomez or Mike Pags has seen a fundamental mechanical flaw that Nardi Contreras, Dave Eiland, and Gil Patterson (before he left the organization) didn’t pick up.

    I just don’t get it. When Gomez wrote that scouting report for THT he was out of baseball. If he was such great scouting mind how did he get out of the sport. It’s nice that he was able to drum up enough attention on the internet to get a job with Arizona as a video tape analysis scout but seriously people talk about him as if he’s Leo Mazzone.

    That’s where this nonsense about Phil started as it happens on the internet that spark was enough to give this story an irrational life of its own. All it takes is a Steve Lombardi here and a Mike Pags there…

    I think I’ll trust Nardi and Eiland. If there was a serious flaw that in his mechanics that made him lose velocity or made him prone to a shoulder injury they would be all over it. Before Joba and Ian Cashman had already staked much of the organization’s future on Phil. No way they the excellent pitching coaches they have are just going to miss an important flaw in Phil’s mechanics that some other guy could pick up looking at a few minutes of tape that was limited to the center field camera shot.

    • daneptizl

      Ask Thomas what he thinks about that first pitch curve.

  • Mike A.

    How about we wait until Hughes passes the 10 IP mark on the season before everyone starts flipping out?

    • AndrewYF

      How about 50. I can’t believe the mood swings of this fanbase. We’re worse than Sox fans.

      • Justin

        Agreed, I live up in Boston and I am all too familiar with this crap. It’s two sides of the same coin and it makes me sick.

        • Whitey14

          I never realized yankee fans were just as bad as Red Sox fans when it comes to the “doom and gloom” thing, but you guys have proven it to me recently. It’s amazing what not winning a championship in 7 years will do to a fan base.

          Relax guys, you have excellent young pitching talent and an offense that will come around. Pitchers tend to get better with age and experience (injuries, drugs, etc, aside) and a slow start is something you’ve seen before and weathered through. The yankees, unfortunately, will be just fine.

  • pete c.

    This team has 2 “rookies”( face it) in the rotation. and a lineup that never saw a 1st pitch they could lay-off. That’s not a traditional formula for success.

  • McFadden

    pete c.-

    never saw a first pitch they could lay off? Pretty sure they’ve led the league in pitches per plate appearance the last few years. I think that’s a bit reactive after like 8 games. Everyone just needs to chill out. It’s not like these guys just forgot how to hit. They may not be off to a great start, but it’s surely not as bad as it was last year and look how that turned out. It would be nice to get off to a hot start, but that could still happen. Just calm down and let things play out. I’d be willing to bet when the weather warms up phil will be sitting 91-93 and touch 94-95 consistently. The thing I’m concerned about with him is the development of a third pitch. He uses the changeup very seldom. I think he threw 2-3 in yesterdays game. If he can further develop that changeup to where it’s a usable third pitch consistently, I think he’ll be just fine.

    • Joseph P.

      He threw three changeups just in the at-bat to Gload.

  • Count Zero

    This has to be the most ridiculous thread EVAH. I can’t believe how many of you guys are evaluating strategic decisions based on a 4-4 start. If it wasn’t pathetic, it would be funny.

    Sample size, sample size, SAMPLE SIZE! How many times does it need to be said?

    I can only imagine what would be happening if we were off to the Tigers’ start…

  • Curramba

    Phil will be fine. I am not worried about him but Melky although one of my favs needs to start hitting.

  • McFadden

    Joseph P.-

    Yeah he threw 3 to Gload and 1 in the AB w/ Gordon right before Gload and that was it. So I was wrong sorry, 4 changeups. I just think if it truly is a usable pitch and he’s said it is then he needs to use it more. Maybe he didn’t have a good feel for it yesterday cuz of the weather, idk. But, as the season progresses if he is going to be successful he needs to develop that pitch a little more.

  • Tommy

    The reason I think Melky Cabrera will be an All-Star is because he hits an impressive number of line drives. Last season, 19.7% of his balls in were line drives. That’s the kind of rate that drives a .300+ batting average.

    Defensively, according to David Pinto’s PMR, Melky rated better than Vernon Wells and Grady Sizemore last season. Oh, and his top PECOTA comp is Carlos Beltran.

    I beat the drum for Melky!

  • Curramba

    The Yankees have Horne and Marquez to eat up innings when Hughes, Kennedy and Chamberlain need a rest.

  • Jamal G.

    Jesus Christ. This is my first season following a baseball season on a blog and Jesus Christ. Some of you guys are worst than the damn newspaper writers. What in GOD’s name is wrong with some of you? It’s 8 games into the season and Hughes has pitched 9.0 God Damn innings. NINE!

    One is talking about Carl Pavano, another is saying Hughes’ performance doesn’t leave any hope for dominance or future ace potential when it’s been only 9.0 damn innings.

    Lastly can we drop the Santana thing. Cashman himself said on the air with Fatso & Fruit Loops that there were two final packages requested from Minny. One package involved Hughes, Cabrera and two other prospects. The other package was Wang, Kennedy, Cabrera and one prospect. There was no package centered around Kennedy and Cabrera so please stop bringing that up.

    Here’s the link if you want to listen for yourself or here Ca$hmoney own Chris Russo in an argument about “babying” young pitchers. (The interview was on 3-11)

    You guys who are down on Hughes think Johnny Cueto is going to post a 18:0 K:BB ratio the entire season? He has the same innings cap as Ian Kennedy, they both threw 161.1 innings and 165.1 innings respectively. The authors here at RAB and all across the Yankees blogosphere told us time and time again that we will need innings from guys like Darrel Rasner, Kei Igawa, and others to full in those extra innings that Trip Aces will not be able to throw due to their innings cap. So why bring that up as some big argument in your favor? We knew this going in that we would not be able to secure 400 innings from Hughes and IPK.

    This Hughes bashing is so infuriating on so many levels, I really did not expect this.

  • mustang

    Sacrifice what future ? What makes you so sure that these guys are going to be what you hope they are. I know what Santana brings to the table.

    I agree with Steve S comments totally.

    I’m going to move on now because this has nothing to do with this thread and because arguing with you guys about the so call “Big Three” it’s like going against a wave.
    I hope you guys are right about them. Just don’t get upset if your not. LOL

    • Justin

      I’m not going to lose any sleep if the “Big Three” don’t perform this year. So far I haven’t seen anything to be concerned about. If you think that signing another veteran regardless of track record is the key to the world series than you’re totally 100% wrong. What happened with Jon Lieber, Esteban Loiaza, Javier Vazquez, Randy Johnson, Carl Pavano, Jeff Weaver and everyone else who has come and gone and failed miserably. The fact is the organization was sick of spending too much on talent that couldn’t perform. There is no key to the world series, look what is happening to the Mets right now. Santana is 1-1, Pedro is out, they have no depth in the farm or payroll to find or sign anything usable and they are putting the ball in the hands of Mike Pelfrey tonight and crossing their fingers. The truth is, if we traded the farm, we would be in a similar spot. Now we can cross our fingers and hope that Hughes and Kennedy work out. If they don’t, We have Horne, Marquez, Melancon, Sanchez et. al. to try out. We are getting something to root for, or against, although if you are actually a Yankees fan I don’t know how you can root against in house, cheap talent. For what we are paying Hughes, Kennedy and Joba, if we get league average, we are getting a steal. If they don’t perform we can make a trade at the deadline, but how bout you let these guys make a decent amount of starts before you start jumping on them for not being Johan Santana.

    • Ben K.

      Let’s see in three years who’s better when the Mets are paying Santana out the ass for declining performance.

  • GoYankees

    It was a cold, windy day, and Hughes couldn’t get loose. No velocity, no command. What else is there to say? ~

  • yankeemonkey

    You guys are funny. Every pitcher is going to have a craptastic outing occasionally. Every. Single. One. Santana, Clemens, Beckett – you name ’em, they’ve done it. That’s just the way it is, and there is absolutely no reason to go bonkers over it. Now, if Hughes continues to pitch like he did yesterday into, say, May, that’s when the alarms have to start going off.

    Chill out, people. Remember Wang’s start against Toronto last season when he couldn’t get out of the second inning? Nobody was screaming he’s a bust then, were they? (at least no one in their right mind, that is)

    • Justin

      Yeah and in case you don’t remember, Wang was the first player offered and the last player requested by the Twins for Johan Santana. Why aren’t you screaming bloody murder that we didn’t send him off for the “Great” Johan?

  • Justin

    Pete Abe has a great term for people who latch on to threads like this. He calls them “trolls.” I think due to the rain and negative outcome yesterday, the “trolls,” are out in full force. Hopefully the sun will shine, and Kennedy will pitch and they’ll all crawl back into the wholes whence they came.

    • Justin


  • Matt

    Taking things back to Melky for a moment – he made a major mental lapse yesterday in the top of the second. Posada scored standing up on a Betemit single, but the throw arrived just as Posada was crossing the plate. Way too close to go in standing up.

    Melky was the on-deck batter and he took his sweet time getting over to the plate and gave a very late, very non-chalant “slide” sign to Posada when it was already too late.

    The Yanks are lucky Posada wasn’t injured more than he already is on that play.

    • Ben K.

      Yup. I was talking about that with Joe at the time. Bad, bad play by Melky.

  • pete c.

    Mcfadden, I am calm. And yes I understand it’s early, but the guys not taking pitches are the vets who should know better. They all look like their lunging at the ball.
    I’m not panicking mostly because when a team puts 2 and possibly 3 rookies in the rotation, it’s not a recipe for arriving in the post season. To be honest I think this year they miss the playoffs. If the big three pan out and I think they will , I believe NY will be a force to be reckoned with in the future, provided they have the offence.

  • Curramba

    I guess you guys also didn’t hear what Coney was saying about the ump and his movable strike zone. The ump also have something to do with Hughes struggles because his strike zone kept moving. Hughes is going to be great and is way younger than Santana. Santana is now entering his prime years where Phil will be giving us wins for quite a while.

  • Mike P

    To be honest I’m worried about Hughes too. Never thought he should have been traded for Santana. I just think he may not be good enough for a World Series win this year. The fact that we need him to be very good this season is a problem, in my opinion.

    A lot of people see Hughes’ performance as a testimony of the front office’s failures. They wave about Santana’s name because that’s easy. The front office has failed with this year’s rotation because a 200 million dollar roster should not rely on very good performances from 3 rookies (Hughes is pretty much one). But seperate the kids themselves from that fact.

    Phil Hughes is a HUGE success for the front office. Yankee fans should be delighted we have him. Doesn’t mean Cashman’s not taking a massive risk though.

    Here’s to the Big Three doing something unprecedented for the Yanks this year and make us forget Cashman’s lack of forsight for 2008. (Though not beyond!)

  • The Fallen Phoenix

    I don’t understand something, though: what would the Yankees have done in the 2007 off-season to shore up the pitching? Throw $11 million at Carlos Silva? The fact of the matter is, short of trading his young pitching, Cashman did not have an avenue this past offseason for shoring up the starting pitching.

    You can talk about the Yankees’ $200 million payroll, and how one would expect $200 million to buy good pitching. I agree with you, but that’s only if there is good pitching on the market that you can buy. Quite frankly, there has not been any good pitching purchasable on the market. The only examples that are coming to mind in the last two or three years include Gil Meche (and I don’t think anyone expected his first season to go so well) and A.J. Burnett (who is great when healthy).

    Actually, I take that back. The Yankees essentially purchased Andy Pettitte, and he was certainly a top starter (possibly the top lefty) available in the last two free agent markets. Outside of that, though, what was Cashman really supposed to do?

    • Mike P

      Sorry, bit of a late response. But I didn’t mean this offseason. Cashman should have thought about 2008 before the 2007 season, just the way he was clearly thinking about Sabathia and 2009 when he didn’t pull the trigger on Santana.

  • Mr. Manzibar

    How can you not like Melky. His infectious smile warms my heart.

  • LiveFromNewYork

    I agree that we’re acting like Sux fan. This fanbase is out of its mind right now. Calm freaking down. You want a shoo in to the WS in April. Give me a break.

  • LiveFromNewYork

    That has to be frustrating for a young pitcher. I think it got to Kennedy as well the other night though he was getting worse calls than Phil yesterday. At least Phil contributed by sucking a lot more than Ian did. But the strike zone thing was just silly. The ump would have been run out of the Bronx if he tried that at Yankee Stadium.

    • Joseph P.

      Amen. When A-Rod struck out looking for the second time, was your first thought: “Uh, the pitch Phil threw to Tony Pena JUST LAST INNING was closer than that!” ?

  • Jake

    I find it so ridiculous that anyone who questions whether there are any potential issues with Hughes’ mechanics is accused of flipping out, overreacting, being unpatriotic, whatever. Try to distinguish between people with reasonable, yet differing points of view and the trolls. This blog is too enjoyable to turn it into an echo chamber.

    • LiveFromNewYork

      If you question Phil’s mechanics the terrorists win.

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