In a Monday Morning Ten-Pack that features a glowing review of Jose Tabata and a guarded report on Jeremy Bleich, Kevin Goldsmith at Baseball Prospectus questions Phil Hughes. Since a BP subscription is required for the whole piece, I’ll excerpt:
At this point, Hughes is just massively confusing. His 2007 looked to be his breakout campaign, but then he severely pulled a hamstring while going for a no-hitter against Texas. This year, it was a strained oblique that hampered him, and since his return from it, he’s been either awesome or awful, depending on the day, and we have no real reason why he’s just one or the other. That trend has continued so far in the Arizona Fall League. In his first start for Peoria, he walked five in five innings, but also allowed just one hit while striking out seven and left scouts drooling. On Saturday, he allowed eight runs on seven hits while failing to get out of the third inning, and left scouts confused as to whether this was even the same pitcher they’d seen 11 days before. It’s hard to find somebody with more varied reports on him at this point.
Hughes is still just 22 and still has stuff that ranks him up with the pitching prospects in the Majors. However, he’s going to have to put it together soon.
Next season will be his fifth in professional baseball, and his Minor League numbers are off the charts. He now has to put it together at the Big League level while staying healthy. There’s no reason to think he can’t do that, and there’s no reason to think that his start on Saturday was simply an aberration. But as time ticks on, the Yanks’ patience will wane.