Hughes, Sanchez heading to the AzFL


Via Chad Jennings, organizational pitching guru Nardi Contreras confirmed that both Phil Hughes & Humberto Sanchez will be heading to the Arizona Fall League this year. This is all about innings for these two, especially Phil. The AzFL season doesn’t start until October 9th, so I supposed there’s a chance that Hughes could make an appearance or two with the Yanks in September. We already know he’s starting tomorrow for Triple-A Scranton.

Austin Jackson & Kevin Russo are the only other players confirmed to be going to AzFL this year, so the Yanks still have three spots to fill (two pitchers and an infielder).

Categories : Asides, Minors


  1. Ivan says:

    Wow the AFL just got more interesting. A-Jax, now Humberto and Hughes.

    Tells ya that Hughes is definately in their plans next season (hopefully and most likely)

    Hopefully no set backs and gets in as much innings as possible.

    I would like to Hughes back to the Show.

    Humberto next season can be huge also.

    I guess the organization will tell Hughes to work on his Cutter (which is brand new) and his change and just build arm strength. Hughes breakout is coming in 09.

    • bill says:

      They should also send Joba there to get his innings up to the projected total of 140 cuz he definitely wont reach that total in the majors. If he doesnt raise his innings theyll limit him to somewhere in the mid 100′s again.

  2. Hitman says:

    Kevin Russo is heading to the AFL? For god’s sake isn’t this guy a career minor leaguer? What about Christian Garcia? He certainly needs the workout as much as anyone.

    • bill says:

      I dont get it either

      • Jamal G. says:

        They only have a certain number of guys they can send that are pitchers or position players. Kevin Russo will not affect the Yanks sending another pitcher. Mike pointed this out in the post:

        Austin Jackson & Kevin Russo are the only other players confirmed to be going to AzFL this year, so the Yanks still have three spots to fill (two pitchers and an infielder).

        • bill says:

          Okay but why Kevin Russo? Are you confident he’ll ever be a major leaguer? The AzFL is for prosects, not for talentless career minor leaguers. He’s just taking up a roster spot from an actual prosect.

          • Jamal G. says:

            He’s just taking up a roster spot from an actual prosect.

            I’d like to think the Yankees know more about their players than we do.

            • bill says:

              You’d LIKE to think that. There is always the possibility an organization overhypes their prospects. Where are Bubba Crosby and Ricky Ledee now? Probably farther than Kevin Russo will ever end up.

              • Jamal G. says:

                Whoever said Bubba Crosby was going to amount to much, if anything?

                Also, I said that as a joke. There is no way that we – Baseball Prospectus subscription or not – can know more about these Yankee prospects than the damn Yankees do. Also, just because we feel a certain way about them, or have a certain projection for these players means nothing. All that matters is how the Yankees see their own players and how they choose to develop them, that’s it. Seeing as how they have first-hand knowledge of these players, I’m more than happy that their opinion is the only one that counts.

            • bill says:

              Even if Russo is a prospect, which he isnt, there are so many others in our system that deserve the nod over him for an AzFL roster spot. Bottom line, Kevin Russo does NOT belong in the AzFL.

              • Jamal G. says:

                there are so many others in our system that deserve the nod over him for an AzFL roster spot.

                Name them.

                • bill says:

                  Brett Gardner, Eric Duncan, Edwar Gonzalez, Ramiro Pena (in the Futures Game, albeit as a repplacement for ineligable callups), to name a few. Are Single A players eligable? If so, you can add a lot more

                • Jamal G. says:

                  Brett Gardner is Major League ready, why would the Yankees send him to the AzFL? They still have a spot open for another infielder. So Eric Duncan, Edwar Gonzalez, and Ramiro Pena could easily be picked. Only one payer is allowed below the Double-A level.

                  I just don’t see the wisdom in arguing this in such a definitive degree as you are when you are not prevy to the evaluations and information on these players as the Yankees are. Als, you do not know the Yankees’ mind-set. You do not know why they are sending Kevin Russo there and not this guy, that guy, or the other guy. So for you to say the Yankees’ brass is “lost” is unnecessary and based on inadequate (in comparison to what the Yankees have available to them) information.

                • bill says:

                  Really, Gardner’s ready? He’s hitting .175. So you could put Gardner there with Gonzalez or Pena or a Single A player like Montero or Laird. Kevin Russo doesnt belong there, in my opinion at least, which in this case doesnt matter much. I would rather have Chris “Mad Dog” Russo playing for the Yankees than Kevn Russo

                • tremont says:

                  I agree that Gardner would be a better choice than Russo. Get him as many reps as possible, especially since he might not get even ten at bats from mid-August on.

  3. TurnTwo says:

    question is whether or not Humberto will go down and log innings from the bullpen, or if they are going to send him down as a starter (or in the AzFL, does it really matter?).

  4. Jamal G. says:

    Technically, I believe Joba Chamberlain is eligible for the AzFL this year. The rule is:

    No players with more than one year of credited Major League service as of August 31 are eligible, except a team may select one player picked in the most recently concluded Major League Rule 5 Draft.

    Since Chamberlain was placed on the DL on August 6th, 2008, that would make his service time in the Major Leagues exactly 365-days (He made his ML debut on August 7th, 2007). Since 365-days is not more than one year of credited Major League service as of August 31, Chamberlain should be eligible.

  5. Chris says:

    How many games do they play in the AzFL? What kinds of innings would you expect Hughes or Sanchez to throw?

  6. bill says:

    I read Chad Jennings’ blog, and he only expects the following players to be called up from AAA: Chad Moeller, Phil Coke, Melky, Christian, and Shelly duncan. If this is the case, the Yankees brass is lost, because the Yankees are dead and its time to see what we have. Miranda and Melancon should be up, as well should Hughes and Kennedy.

    • Jamal G. says:

      I don’t really see the rush. If the Yankees don’t think they are ready, then they are not ready. They should not bring them up to appease fans who are chomping at the bit to see a couple young players perform at the big league level.

      • bill says:

        So you’d rather see Ponson than Hughes? Kennedy? At least in Kennedy’s case he’s proven he can dominate AAA hitters (or maybe AAA hitters dominate themselves). You have to give successful AAA pitchers consistent reps in the bigs to see if theyre big leaguers or AAAA pitchers. Especially when your big club is hopeless.

        • Jamal G. says:

          I’d rather see the development of Phil Hughes, Ian Kennedy, and all other Yankee prospects handled with care and caution rather than just sending them to a Major League mound or batter’s box out of sheer necessity.

          • bill says:

            Theyve done it on the big league mound before

            • Jamal G. says:

              And we all saw how useful that was in 2008. Clay Buchholz threw a no-no in 2007, where is he now? In Double-A Portland.

              Give the kids time, there is no need to rush. Just relax and let them develop, what difference is it to you?

              • bill says:

                Because Kennedy has dominated AAA. What more can he do, throw a perfect game every start? Its time to see if he can do it here. And also Melancon, they should give him a shot cuz the pen is tired and he’s dominating down there. And for Miranda, he’s putting up good numbers down there and you have to see if he’s for real or if he’s another Shelly Duncan. And he can become a free agent after 2009 I think

                • Jamal G. says:

                  Dude, the Yankees are projected to be a business worth $1.5-Billion when they move into their new stadium next year. You really think they have not discussed this to the nth degree? They have their plans and they have their timetables. They know what they are doing. They wouldn’t have a streak of thirteen straight October appearances if they didn’t know what they were doing and were “lost”.

                • bill says:

                  Yes but everyone makes mistakes, like Kyle Farnsworth and LaTroy Hawkins kind of mistakes and worse

                • tremont says:

                  Bill, how much is Miranda really going to play anyway? You aren’t going to find out anything about him in the 10 to 20 big league at bats he would likely get with a call-up.

                  I totally agree about Hughes and Kennedy though, especially Kennedy. They have nothing left to do in the minors. It’s time to take of floaties and let them sink or swim.

                • Hitman says:

                  Posting good numbers is not the issue at this point. It’s trying to determine if their newly improved pitches can get big league hitters out. Hughes may have to keep learning into 2009. Same goes for Kennedy.

  7. MD says:

    how come Hughes and Kennedy were ready for the big leagues in March-April, but not ready in September? did they develop less skill over the past year? cut the crap about being in a playoff race, bring these guys up and let them get 3-4 starts in the last month, to put some good taste in everyone’s mouth about next year……or to dump after we sign an arm weary Sabathia to an Arod contract…

      • MD says:

        and if they are not ready, what the hell was Cash thinking in March? and, if he moves Pavano before the deadline for a prospect, then he made a good move; but if we are holding on to him, this is just to vindicate Cash’s decision to sign him, by saying “look, he pitched well for us when he was healthy”….we all know he’s gone after the end of the year….the only thing Pavano pitching for us in September does is attempt to take the heat off of the decision to sign him……move him, today.

    • Jamal G. says:

      how come Hughes and Kennedy were ready for the big leagues in March-April, but not ready in September?

      Because they struggled horrendously and needed time not only to rehab from their injuries, but to pitch at a level where they forced themselves on a Major League mound. The Yankees, and everyone, thought they were ready at the start of the season. They weren’t. So now the Yankees are giving them all the time they need to develop and be Major League ready, I don’t see anything wrong with that.

      • MD says:

        then they weren’t ready in March (and might not be ready now…then, it makes sense, Jamal)…..somewhere there needs to be accountability for all these wrong turns…..too bad Torre isn’t still here, then we’d have the answer to whom to blame……

        • Jamal G. says:

          What accountability? Young pitchers struggle, they have setbacks. Nary does everything go according to plan with a young pitcher, that was explained to the masses before the season started when people had these astronomical expectations. Even the best of the best in the history of baseball failed miserably at the beginning of their Major League careers. Nobody needs to be held accountable for that, that’s just the way of the game.

          The Yankees are no different from the other twenty-nine organizations in baseball. They have pitching prospects and they struggle in the early parts of their careers, that’s it. People just need to relax and be patient, not everything has to happen in 2008 or 2009. Just relax and be patient.

          • MD says:

            when you hand 2 starting pitcher positions in the rotation of a team you claim is a championship contender, struggling means having a Darryl Rasner year….a third of the time they look real good, a third they stink it up, and the other third they are so-so…..these kids didn’t show one good outing to my recollection….I still have hopes for them, but it is clear that they weren’t even close to being ready in March…..and the decision to leave them down just certifies this…..and by the way, Girardi’s statements on the post game show (and body language) tell me that Joba will be in the pen next year…….he’ll have the 8th, and they will sign/trade for a few starters……or maybe Kennedy and Hughes will be ready to pitch by next April, since the expectations will be lower.

            • tremont says:

              In hindsight it’s easy to say they weren’t close to ready. However both Hughes and Kennedy were first round picks, who dominated their way through the minors the last couple of years. They even pitched relatively well in the bigs last year. Show me the person who didn’t think they were ready to contribute at the start of the season.

              They also had Rasner, Karstens, Horne, Marquez, and even Igawa as back up plans. Obviously none of these guys are future stars. How many teams could say they had that kind of depth behind their fifth starter at the start of the year?

  8. dkidd says:

    could i get a quick description of sanchez? could he travel north next spring?

    • bill says:

      All I know is that he is 6-6 or 6-7 and he could reach 97 mph before the TJS. I’m not sure what his secondary pitches are

  9. dkidd says:

    and aceves? is he seen as a starter at some point? dreaming about a home grown rotation (plus cc) in 2010

    • bill says:

      He was a starter in his minor league career. I’m really high on him. He didnt even show his full arsenal today, which includes a change, split, curve, slider, fastball. He can be an El Duque-like starter without the deception and with a better fastball. He also has gret mound presence and guts.

      • Steve says:

        “He also has great mound presence and guts.”

        That was what impressed me the most. Zero fear or hesitation out there. Went right after the hitters and wasted few pitches in doing so. I can see why he earned the nickname “The Mexican Gangster”.

        El Duque is a good comp, he was fearless and had trouble with lefties as well. I can only hope he’s half as smart and competitive as Olando was, who is still to this day one of my all-time favorite Yanks.

  10. dkidd says:

    i guess my real question is:

    of all the pitchers i hear mentioned on this site, who has the best chance to be an “impact” major leaguer someday?

    aceves, horne, coke, brackman, melancon, any of the 2008 draftees, etc

    • bill says:

      Aceves has the best chace to contribute next year, just because he already pitched this year. Melancon is close. As for upside in that group, Melancon and Brackman have the most upside. Brackman can be a right handed Randy Johnson, but will probably take awhile to develop. Melancon can become a great closer and will probably pitch next year

  11. Charlie Hayes Fan Club says:

    if recent history is any guide – none of the above (they will all spend most – if not all – of their careers on the DL).

    ladies & gentlemen – your 2009 Yankees starting rotation:
    Wang – hopefully
    Chamberlain – hopefully
    Hughes – hopefully
    Mussina/Pettitte – in reserve for the inevitable injury(ies) to the 3rd, 4th & 5th starters.

  12. Adrian-Retire21 says:

    How can Hughes start the season.He’s going on two years in a row without 100 innings obarely.He needs to start the season in AAA then come up to pitch.

  13. Reggie C. says:


    is there any chance that Christian Garcia gets sent to Hawaii to throw another 30 or so innings? Is the hawaii roster already set? As much as i can’t wait to see Brackman’s first line, Garcia has an outside shot at re-capturing alot of that attention once bestowed.

  14. Charlie Hayes Fan Club says:

    I didn’t necessarily mean the rotation on April 1st.

    Despite all the hope for the young arms to develop the Yanks will need to buy some pitching (if they want to win another championship before 90% of the starting lineup retires).

  15. LC says:

    I don’t know where to send this to but this is an interesting article…

    One interesting part of it “A few Yankee officials floated the concept of signing both Sabathia and another high-end starter such as A.J. Burnett and then using the young stockpile of pitching GM Brian Cashman has been hoarding in recent years to address other areas. For example, try to replicate the Edinson Volquez-Josh Hamilton deal from last offseason by using someone such as Phil Hughes to find a young, controllable center fielder or first baseman (Hughes for Joey Votto?).”

    That would be awesome to get a young first baseman for phil hughes if we can afford to give him up. It also talks about how Victorino could be a good CF for the Yanks, Cano should be dangled in a trade for someone like Cain or Greinke and that Tex shouldn’t be given 10 years.

    • Manimal says:

      MLBTR said shane victorino will be a good match for NY. I dont see it though.

    • tremont says:

      I don’t get why people don’t want Tex. He hits, he fields, and he’s 28. He isn’t a lard ass and he probably is not a juicer, so he should have plenty of good years left in him. He won’t get a 10 year deal anywhere. I have no problem giving him a 6-7 year deal at $18-$20 mill per year.

    • tremont says:

      I really hate giving pitchers long term deals. I wouldn’t object to Sabathia, but let someone else get burned by Burnett and Sheets.

    • tremont says:

      I also don’t see why you would sell low on these young pitchers, unless you really don’t believe in them anymore.

    • Steve says:

      Joel Sherman is semi-retarded. You can literally feel brain cells die as you read his columns. I can’t imagine putting “Joel Sherman” and the word “interesting” in the same sentence. Sorry, I’m not trying to be a jerk but his work is consistently awful and I’m assuming you’re not all that familiar with him.

      He must be a Mets fan, because he has no clue how the Yankees think or approach anything.

    • Reggie C. says:

      There’s what the Yanks will do and what the Yanks should do. Joel Sherman’s writing this season definitely leans towards the latter. I think Sherman has put up some of the most intriguing, debate ready ideas that i’ve seen from any writer who covers baseball.

      Sherman’s already touched the Hughes trade before. And the idea of Cano getting traded is one that’s been thrown around on Yesnetwork boards. To load up on FA pitching (Sabathia & Sheets) and then trading for guys like Loney (1B) and Cain (SP) sets up the rotation like this: Sabathia, Sheets, Wang, Joba, and Cain.

      Sherman doesn’t hate the Yanks. That’s the rotation he’s essentially saying we should go for…

  16. Charlie Hayes Fan Club says:

    that’s a very interesting approach to address the lineup needs. possibly also the Dodgers
    have some of what the Yanks need in the way of young OFs (and the Dodgers are certainly in need of young pitchers)?

  17. Baseballnation says:

    First of all a Hughes for Votto straight up deal is straight up lame. please stop that. They Passed on Santana just 9 moths ago…But you want to trade him for Votto.

    I get this real suspecting feeling that the yankees will Go for Burnett first, then overspend for Sabathia while dealing hughes in a package for a. impact bat next year

  18. Old Ranger says:

    Has anyone on this thread ever heard the old say-in; “Don’t judge a player on the fall call-up or the spring training”, or words to that effect?
    It looks like a few of us got carried away with the fab 3, last year. I say us, because I (even though I know better), along with most of you had very high hopes for IPK, Phil and Joba. Let them work on their pitches, two pitch pitchers (starters) are very few and far between. Once they have control and command of 3/4 pitches then bring them up. They have the talent to get major league ready by next year…give them time.

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