A look at Phil Hughes’ start with Pitch f/x

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Riding the heels of a four game losing streak that included some downright embarrassing losses, Phil Hughes delivered everything the Yanks needed from him last night and then some. He twirled six shutout innings against the fourth best offense in the league, allowing just two hits and two walks against six strikeouts. Even though Hughes returned to the team last September with two strong starts, the horrors of last April are still firmly engrained in everyone’s head, and there was a still a sense of skepticism when he took to the mound last night. He made good on his promise for at least one night, earning himself a second turn in the rotation.

Instead of just taking a look at Hughes’ performance last night, I wanted to compare his stuff last night to his stuff last April. We’ll start off with the good ol’ number one, the fastball. Remember to click each graph for a larger, easy to read view. There’s lots of colorful graphs and stuff in this post, so I’m going to hide it behind the jump to keep the server gods happy. Enjoy.

Fastball

Phil Hughes fastballs

There wasn’t too much of a difference between Hughes’ fastball last year and his fastball last night. I’m guessing that with a larger sample, the pitch trajectories in the bird’s eye view would overlap. They featured similar downward movement, and the release points were largely the same. His average fastball velocity last April was 91.18 mph, last night it was 91.33. His heater is basically unchanged.

Curveball

Phil Hughes curveballs

Same thing as the fastball, really. Identical trajectories and release points. It is interesting that he releases his curve from a spot typically four inches higher than his heater, but a batter wouldn’t be able to pick that up from fifty-plus feet away.

Back in Spring Training we learned that Hughes had been working on an adjustment with his curve, specifically throwing it with the same arm speed as his fastball to give it a sharper bite instead of a big loop. Well, his average curveball velocity last year was 72.16 mph. Last night it was 76.04 mph. That’s a pretty significant difference.

He did struggle to command the pitch in the early going, with a handful sailing away from him, but once he got it under control the thing was filthy. It definitely seemed like more of a legit put away pitch yesterday, whereas last year it screamed “hit me!!!” at times. The pitch is is still a work in progress, but the results last night were every encouraging.

Slider/Cutter

Phil Hughes sliders & cutters

Now here’s where it gets interesting. Hughes didn’t pick up the cutter until he returned to the minors last year, so we can’t compare it to it’s April ’08 counterpart because there isn’t one. However, Hughes did throw the occasional slider last year and that pitch has all been scrapped from his repertoire now. The slider was his best pitch coming out of high school, so it’s kind of surprising that the thing is basically a non-option at this point. The Yanks prefer the curveball, but it still seems odd that they’d just take away an effective pitch like that. Whatever.

Anywho, there are several noticeable differences between this year’s cutter and last year’s changeup. The most obvious thing is how much he uses it. Check out the pitch selection:

Phil Hughes Pitch Selection

(Note: Pitch f/x classified Hughes’ cutters as sliders in last night’s outing, but we know it wasn’t a slider just from watching the game. The pitch had noticably shorter break and much more velocity behind it (87.48 mph on the cutter last night, 77.59 mph on the slider last year). It was a cutter, and I’m 100% confident in that)

Hughes threw ten sliders all of last April. Last night alone he threw twelve cutters. Essentially, Hughes added a third pitch to his arsenal, one that he’s confident in it and threw to both lefties and righties last night and in just about any count. That’s a pretty major development, and significant reason behind his resurgance following the rib injury last year.

There should be no more “he needs a third pitch,” “well he’s working on changeup,” “but I thought he had a good one already” talk. Phil Hughes has a legitimate third pitch in his pitching arsenal right now, and it’s a cutter. Case closed.

Changeup

Phil Hughes changeups

Not much to see, it looks exactly the same. Hughes threw three changeups last night, and just nineteen all of last April. RAB readers, Phil Hughes’ fourth pitch. Phil Hughes’ fourth pitch, RAB readers.

One last thing I want to highlight is the movement Hughes’ pitches featured last night, specifically his fastball and cutter:

Phil Hughes pitch movement

Just eyeballing it off the graph, it looks like the cutter has about six inches of horizontal break (in on lefties) more than his fastball, which is what you’d expect. Pure fastballs tend to the run back to armside. That cut in will help Hughes against lefties, and that’s a good thing because they’ve tattooed him in his young Major League career (.281-.379-.480 vs LHB, .232-.285-.330 vs. RHB). Diving into the world of extremely small sample sizes, the three lefty batters in Detroit’s lineup last night (Curtis Granderson, switch-hitting Carlos Guillen, and Josh Anderson) went a combined 1 for 6 (Guillen single) with one walk and one strikeout (both Granderson) off Hughes.

All this Pitch f/x stuff is cool and fun to look at, but it can’t quantify the biggest difference between the 2008 version of Phil Hughes and the 2008 version of Phil Hughes: confidence. Last year Hughes (and Ian Kennedy as well) nibbled at the corners too much and pitched scared; they were afraid of contact and didn’t challenge hitters, digging themselves into deeper and deeper holes before the wheels finally came off. Last night was different for Hughes. He went after hitters and pitched with a plan. A prime example of that was the fourth inning.

Magglio Ordonez fouled out to first baseman Mark Teixeira on a 1-0 count to lead off the inning. Hughes then hit Miggy Cabrera with an 0-1 pitch before allowing a a line drive single to left off the bat of Carlos Guillen. A fielder’s choice put runners at first and third with two outs, with the molten hot Brandon Inge (1.129 OPS coming into the game) coming up to the dish. Last year, this was a meltdown situation that in all likelyhood would have resulted in multiple runs because Hughes wasn’t challenging batters. Instead, Hughes issued the old unintentional intentional free pass to Inge so he could go after the noodle bat of Josh Anderson, who he got to ground out to second on a 1-0 cutter. What a difference a year – and a third pitch – makes.

About the only negative you can bring up about Hughes’ start last night was that he was inefficient, throwing 99 pitches in six innings, or 16.5 pitches per frame. That’s just something he has to continue to work on, and improving his feel for his newer, harder curveball should help cut down on some extraneous pitches. Tim Lincecum threw 16.2 pitches per inning last year in the sissy league, so it’s not like Hughes is horribly inefficient. You’d just like to see him cut a pitch or two off that pace.

Obviously it was just one start, but it’s hard not to be encouraged by what you saw out of Hughes last night. He showed off the most consistent third pitch he’s ever had, and he pitched with an air of confidence he didn’t show last year. I’m excited by what I saw, and you should be too.

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  • cult of basebaal

    BUT HE’S PUTTING TEH 8TH INNING AT RISK!!111!!

    seriously though, that cutter is VERY big addition to his arsenal.

    i’m excited for Phil Hughes v.3

    • Ellis

      Can we put the “!!111!eleven!!” joke to bed? Please? I mean, c’mon. It makes the comments section kindof annoying to read when we have to sift through that tired old joke.

      • Nady Nation

        Gotta agree. The dead horse has been beaten pretty hard at this point.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          And yet, the wild overreacters, B-Jobbers, and Cashman haters the joke makes fun of remain fully alive and kicking.

          • Nady Nation

            Trust me, I wish we could beat them as hard as the joke’s been beaten.

            • http://www.samiamsports.blogspot.com SamIAmSports

              WAHT?!!111!!111!

      • Bob Stone

        I agree and I don’t even know what the f@#k it means.

  • http://www.samiamsports.blogspot.com SamIAmSports

    I just don’t have the head to figure this whole thing out….I’ve tried a few times already and its just not clicking…oh well

  • zack

    I think also that there are some inconsistencies with pitch fx and pitch recognition (no suprise really) as some of the pitches they call a FB seemed to actually be cutters.

  • A.D.

    Having that legit 3rd pitch, that also gives a 4 MPH different off the fastball looks to be huge. Key thing will be, not relying on it too much when behind on the count, and if the league will be able to adjust to it after there is more video/scouting reports/looks on Phil.

    If he can also continue to work on the change, watch out.

    • huuz

      my guess is that ~6 inches of movement is a bigger deal than the ~4 MPH of speed difference.

      • A.D.

        Of course, the obvious point is the movement of the cutter, but it can have the added effect of being a fastball that comes in slower than the normal fastball, thus effecting a hitters timing. Essentially the effect of “taking something off”.

  • Ivan

    Well Hughes curve was much harder and sharper than last season. His cutter looks pretty good as a thrid pitch. His command of his FB was much better than last season plus, he did hit 94 MPH a couple a times (and even reports of 96)

    Overall, it just tells you what confidence can do to a guy. Granted it’s one start, so far he has a swagger about himself which might be the biggest improvement.

    • A.D.

      This analysis shows that his curve wasn’t harder last year, but softer.

      • KW

        That’s…what he said…

        • A.D.

          ahhhh I misread, essentially mentally blocked the “than”

          Good call.

  • Matt

    Great breakdown/analysis, thanks!

  • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

    I love how people were like “but he needs to face a real offense”

    Stupid people amuse me.

    • Tom Zig

      I didn’t realize Magglio Ordonez and Miguel Cabrera weren’t real hitters.

      • Lanny

        Or Granderson. Or Polanco. Or Inge whos tearing the cover off the ball.
        Det is legit.

  • Joe R

    The umpire probably added a good 15 pitches to him last night.

    • A.D.

      Agreed, Adam Everett at-bat alone.

    • huuz

      that is probably true, but it is also true that successful SPs rise above the umpiring…or the weather…or the crappy defense…or any other excuse/factor.

      to me, hughes getting it done despite a tough ump is a great sign.

      90% of this game is half mental…

      • Joe R

        He did rise above it. This was in reference to his pitch count.

        • A.D.

          On top of that looked like he was going to pitch the 7th despite the pitch count until the long delay/massacre inning.

        • huuz

          He did rise above it

          is this not what i just said?

          • Joe R

            Is it?

            • huuz

              to me, hughes getting it done despite a tough ump IS a great sign

  • Ivan

    U also made a mistake with saying the “difference between Hughes in 08 and Hughes in 08″

  • jsbrendog

    Tim Lincecum threw 16.2 pitches per inning last year in the sissy league,

    well played

  • Am I the only Kevin?

    Thanks, Mike. I was hoping you were going to do this. I have one problem with the data, though. Is it possible for you to reclassify the pitches in pitch F/X? It is clear from watching the tape and hearing the interviews with Phil and Molina that he threw way more than 12 cutters. By the naked eye, it appears that he had inconsistent movement on the pitch, with a few that went virtually straight downward while others sailed more. He also appeared to throw a few 2-seamers.

    Probably on the order of 20+ cutters and 5 or so two-seamers. Quite a few of those “fastballs” near the y-axis in the last graph are probably cutters and 2 seamers. It’d be interesting to see what effect, if any, correcting for this misdiagnosis has on the data. It would probably tick his FB up a half mph, and show more tail on it (the FB birds-eye shows it being virtually straight, but anyone watching saw a good bit of tail on the pitch.

    Anyone else agree?

    • A.D.

      You could prob make a line at -3 on the last graph and use that as the demarcation of cutter & fastball.

      • Am I the only Kevin?

        Agreed. Is it possible to reclassify? Is the pitch f/x data numbered so that you can determine which pitch each data set represents?

    • MattB

      I wasn’t counting, but it certainly appeared to me that he threw way more than 12 cutters. In fact, I was surprised at how often he went to it, given that it’s the newest pitch in his arsenal. It looked to me like it was his go-to pitch last night.

      Maybe when he’s moved to the bullpen he’ll abandon all his other pitches and throw the cutter almost exclusively…

      I agree with Mike that it’s odd to have him scrap the slider all together. I’d like to see him use it again at some point, but if he can pitch like he did last night without it, then who cares.

    • Chris

      Part of the problem is that there doesn’t seem to be a clear line between fastball, cutter, and slider (if you want to classify it as such – the movement on his slider from last year would fall pretty much in line with what Mike is calling a cutter today). One of the great things about Hughes last night is that he seemed to vary the amount of cut on his fastball, which makes it that much more difficult to pick up.

  • Simon B.

    He threw a TON of cutters last night—certainly more than 12 which is what Gameday had listed.

    So I’m guessing a lot of cutters got grouped into the fastball category and is skewing a lot of the data here.

    • Simon B.

      I was beaten many times. I should probably do a better job of reading the comments before I comment.

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

    Last year Hughes (and Ian Kennedy as well) nibbled at the corners too much and pitched scared; they were afraid of contact and didn’t challenge hitters, digging themselves into deeper and deeper holes before the wheels finally came off. Last night was different for Hughes. He went after hitters and pitched with a plan.

    … which is why I’m so disappointed this Pitch f/x breakdown didn’t include the strikezone breakdown.

    I want to see how much more Hughes was pitching balls off the plate last year vs. pitching strikes on the corners of the zone last night.

    • whozat

      http://tinyurl.com/tsjc-is-teh-suxxor

      That just happened.

      Brooks Baseball ftw.

    • http://www.new.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/profile.php?id=594331910&ref=name Jamal G.

      Go here:http://www.brooksbaseball.net/pfx/index.php

      They have a data called “nibbling”, which is exactly what you’re referring to.

      • http://www.new.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/profile.php?id=594331910&ref=name Jamal G.

        Bah, stupid space bar. Thanks, whozat.

    • Chris C.

      “Last year Hughes (and Ian Kennedy as well) nibbled at the corners too much and pitched scared”

      Hughes didn’t pitch scared……he pitched INJURED. BEcause of this, he lacked confidence in his stuff, which caused him to aim for spots. He didn’t just break his rib all of a sudden. It was cracked, and turned into a full break when he tried to deal through it. Once Hughes returned healthy, he posted a 2.25 ERA in the second half of the season.
      Kennedy……pitched SCARED.

      “I want to see how much more Hughes was pitching balls off the plate last year vs. pitching strikes on the corners of the zone last night.”

      I’m sure there’d be a great disparity, but I don’t know how much good it will do you to compare him when he’s unhealthy, to when he’s healthy. It’s clearly a tale of two pitchers.

  • MarkTheShark25

    Can someone please bring up how much better of a catcher Molina is than Posada? Besides offense where Posada is clearly superior, Molina calls a much better game and has an equal if not better arm than J-Po. Look at these stats so far this year: Yankee pitchers with Molina catching, 5-3 2.83 ERA; With Posada catching, 5-7 7.99 ERA. Posada might call the worst game in the league.

    • Joe R

      There was a whole discussion on it in another thread.

      • whozat

        In fact, said discussion was in response to an entire post written by Ben on this exact subject.

    • Joey

      Molina is one of the best defensive catchers in the game and, well, Posada is not, not many here would argue that. The game calling is debatable to the end of the Earth, but it’s pointless, we all know who is the best pitch caller of all time:

      http://butthegameison.com/blog.....aritek.jpg

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        Eh, big deal. Call me when Varitek can play shortstop to replace Lowrie.

        http://www.slower.net/misc/sox.....league.jpg

        Oh… nevermind then.

        • Joey

          Link dead, but I see what you’re getting at. lol

        • Jack

          Work. Fight. Sacrifice.

    • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

      And without Posada’s bat we all go and play golf in October.

      • andrew

        Posada doesn’t have to catch for us to have his bat.

        • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt ACTY

          But his bat is not nearly as valuable at any other position. Posada’s an elite hitting catcher, he’s an average DH.

        • Chris C.

          Oh…….so you think benching Teixeira or Matsui is a good idea?

      • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt ACTY

        This is what we all need to remember. Posada, IMO, is the best offensive catcher since Mike Piazza and his bat out of the catcher position adds much more value than Molina’s defense. If Matsui gets hurt or gets cold, sure, throw Jorge in the DH spot and put Molina behind the dish. But until that happens (and hopefully it doesn’t) you have to run Jorge out there at catcher and Hideki at DH. Posada’s offense >>> Molina’s defense.

        (Stop. Commenting. Matt. You have two papers due in two days.)

    • Am I the only Kevin?

      I’ve always thought Po is horrible for young pitchers given how much he moves during the pitcher’s delivery. Jorge floats into position after the pitcher starts his motion, while nearly every minor league catcher is taught to remain virtually stationary prior to the pitcher starting his motion. This drives young pitchers batty, while also negatively affecting pitch framing even for the crafty vets who can throw to a point in the air as opposed to merely at the glove.

      • KW

        Well the idea is to not let the hitter see where the catcher is set up so as to not give away the intended location of the pitch. It’s not exactly rare either as I would say most ML catchers do this.

        • Am I the only Kevin?

          Setting up late? Yes. Most MLB catchers do this.

          Drifting while the pitcher is breaking his hands and beginning his stride to the plate? No, virtually no good MLB catcher does this. Jorge takes this to the extreme, which costs pitchers control and borderline strike calls.

          • KW

            This is a spurious argument at best: Catchers are taught to set during the windup, breaking at the hands or not. Posada to the naked eye does what Girardi did before him and set up right before the pitch is delivered. How this is distracting for young pitchers is beyond me. Are you saying young pitchers do not understand how to throw to a location without it being constant? What about older pitchers who are easily distracted, or are they all “crafty vets” who know how to throw to a zone without a set, immobile target? If you haven’t noticed, Jason Varitek does the same, but somehow this doesn’t seem to bother any Boston pitchers.

            And somehow this costs pitchers control? This tiny microfraction of a second difference causes pitchers, who otherwise would be spot on delivering the ball to perfect locations, to miss and lose borderline strike calls? I think Posada’s been in the game long enough that if this were even a micro issue it would have been discussed in the, i dont know, 15 years he’s been playing.

            If anything that a catcher does affects the performance of pitchers, it would be two main things: pitch calls and ability to throw out baserunners. Linking “drifting” to young pitchers struggling is a weak use of logic.

      • Chazzy

        Completely agree, (and in addition Posada has been catching curves underhand at times, really giving his pitchers no shot at a called strike.) Molina uses his body to ‘surround’ corner pitches, especially breaking balls, presenting his case to the umpire, always schmoozing them between pitches, working it like the team lobbyist. His sequencing is good because it adjusts and flows with the game, seamlessly. He identifies the pitchers strengths that day and uses them accordingly. truly fun to watch, but i dont think many ppl realize just how good he is — very few catchers are the complete package defensively — Molina seems to be on another planet.

      • Chris C.

        “I’ve always thought Po is horrible for young pitchers given how much he moves during the pitcher’s delivery. Jorge floats into position after the pitcher starts his motion, while nearly every minor league catcher is taught to remain virtually stationary prior to the pitcher starting his motion.”

        Bullshit. What is this, Little League? Tony Pena was even worse. He would contort himself into the strangest positions while the pitcher was in his windup ……and there weren’t too many pithers who were bothered by having Tony Pena as their catcher.

        These pitchers know where to throw the ball……they don’t need a 10 second stationary target.

    • A.D.

      Posada is also presumably off his calling game. Not catching for most of a season + new pitchers, he’ll take some time to adjust.

      In his career it hasn’t seemed to be a major issue, so I’m not going to worry about it yet.

      • Lanny

        I think everyone knows Molina is an outstanding defensive catcher. But Posada is a hall of famer offensive catcher who ain’t exactly Mike Piazza behind the dish.

        Smile and be glad we’ve had him for all these years.

  • dkidd

    i’m surprised to learn that his fastball velocity is the same as last year. good command + the cutter makes it look much faster

    • Am I the only Kevin?

      As I noted above, I think the FB velo was slightly up, just the f/x numbers lump in a bunch of the much slower cutters, nocking the calculated average down a notch or so.

      • whozat

        Yeah, the classification also seemed not to distinguish 4-seam from 2-seam FBs well. I remember some at-bat I was watching on gameday where there were like…3 FBs at 93-94 and two at 87, and it called them all the same thing. I wonder if they’ll add some notion of pitcher repertoire to the system to aid its classification.

        • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt ACTY

          Every fastball on gameday last night was called a two seamer.

          • whozat

            Which I thought was weird, yeah.

        • Klemy

          That would definitely improve the system.

        • Tom Zig

          But dice-k has like 8 pitches, the system would overload.

  • Evan

    I’m just glad to see Phil back out there. He certainly seemed to have much more confidence in what he was throwing and allowing Molina to call the game without shaking him off was beneficial to him also. I liked they were on the same page, which kept the hitters off balance with Hughes working in the cutter in fastball counts and throwing the curve even though he was having difficulty locating in the early innings. Hughes gave them exactly what they needed and more. Bravo! Way to go Phil.

  • The Evil Empire

    “But for the sake of internet traffic (and my e-mail in-box), let’s say that Wang comes back in early June and Hughes is 4-1, 2.85. What then?
    You shake Phil’s hand, thank him for a job well done and send him back to Scranton until he is needed again.” -Pete Abe

    No no no, I don’t think that’s right.

    What’s your take on this Mike?

    BTW, What are the chances that Wang gets traded for a CF if Hughes v.3 is the real thing?
    I say 2%

    • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt ACTY

      No no no, I don’t think that’s right.

      Why not? What would the alternative be? Unless Joba is wildly ineffective and needs to go to Scranton to work it out and get the length he’d get starting for the Yankees, Hughes is the one who’s going to have to get peaced out back to SWB.

      • Chris C.

        “Why not? What would the alternative be? Unless Joba is wildly ineffective and needs to go to Scranton to work it out and get the length he’d get starting for the Yankees, Hughes is the one who’s going to have to get peaced out back to SWB.”

        Whoa, whoa, whoa. Hold on a second. What if, over the next month or so, Hughes is lights out, and Joba is a notch below? Then what? Is there some kind of Yankee law that states Chamberlain is a mainstay in the rotation over Phil Hughes, regardless of production? Does Chamberlain have a full season as a successful starter in the bank that I’m not aware of?

        If Hughes is 4-1, wih a 2.85 ERA, then gets sent back to Scranton, the Yankees should have their fucking collective heads checked! Especially in light of the fact that the Yankees currently have the worst team ERA in baseball, which is so tremendously embarassing in ANY sample size, with the amount of money they poured into the staff!

        • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt ACTY

          Whoa, whoa, whoa. Hold on a second. What if, over the next month or so, Hughes is lights out, and Joba is a notch below?

          It’d be a nice problem to have. But, those two are the only ones in the equation. A lot of this hinges on Wang. When he comes back up, I’m sure they’ll keep Hughes on for at least a start in case Wang can’t get it straight. But, I’d say the fact that Chamberlain started the year with the team and Hughes didn’t means they’d be more likely to hang on to Chamberlain in the rotation instead of Hughes.

          If Hughes is 4-1, wih a 2.85 ERA, then gets sent back to Scranton, the Yankees should have their fucking collective heads checked!

          Sure. And if Chamberlain is 4-2 or 3-2 or whatever with a 3.85, sending him down would be just as stupid. Either way, that’s a hypothetical and the chances that Phranchise out-pitches Joba are not in his favor, even with the way he pitched last night.

          It’s going to be a problem if the both of them pitch well, but it’s a problem I’ll be happy to have. Regardless of who gets sent down, I think I’ll be alright with it ’cause it means that someone’s pitching well; hell, maybe Wang’ll suck again or still be hurt and Joba and Phil will get to stay. Gotta love depth, huh?

    • Evan

      There is no way that Wang is traded. When healthy, he pitches 200+ innings. I don’t see the Yankees trading away that type of pitcher for a stop-gap CF.

      • Tom Zig

        I think he means like a CF prospect, near major league ready.

        • Evan

          Oh you mean like Austin Jackson?

          • Tom Zig

            Touché

            Not exactly sure what he meant, but I saw a post here earlier about only trading Wang for someone like Colby Rasmus. I assume that is what he is talking about. As much as I would like a Colby Rasmus, I’d rather keep Wang. I don’t like to quote baseball adages, but some of them do ring true quite frequently. As they say “you can never have too much pitching.”

            • http://cache.daylife.com/imageserve/00mwbIM15ofMv/340x.jpg Mike Pop

              Dude, I like Wang(the pitcher) too but if it was him or Colby at this point. I’d take Rasmus in a heartbeat. (In my dreams, cause that one ain’t ever happening).

              • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt ACTY

                +1.

            • Chris C.

              “As much as I would like a Colby Rasmus, I’d rather keep Wang..”

              You’ve got to be joking. Rasmus is a star in the making, with an unbelievably perfect Yankee Stadium swing. If the Cardinals wanted to make that deal, I’d volenteer to personally drive Wang to St.Louis myself!

              • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt ACTY

                Again, +1.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      If Joba’s still struggling along, not dominating and just getting by, and Hughes and Wang are clearly better options, send his ass to AAA to get straightened out.

      Take the best of Hughes/Joba and give them the last spot, send the other guy to AAA. Wang will get a spot because he’s out of options.

      Unless you’re getting a stud like Kemp or Jones or Upton, don’t trade Wang for a CF. Keep the depth.

      • ClayBuchholzLovesLaptops

        “If Joba’s still struggling along, not dominating and just getting by, and Hughes and Wang are clearly better options, send his ass to AAA to get straightened out.”

        That’s exactly what I am thinking, too. It would be just absurd to send Phil down if Joba is struggling and Phil is the better option at that point. And his secondary stats show, that the 2009 Joba is not pitching as good as the 2008 version. Either he gets his stuff together or, well, you send him to Scranton to do so.

        • dkidd

          agree. if come august, joba is the odd man out in the rotation, it means hughes and wang are lights-out and that’s a good problem to have

          it’s a long season, anything can happen

          • Lanny

            Wang could probably get you a bag of balls if you wanted to trade him right now.

            Can they all pitch well befor the hypotheticals start turning up?

  • Tom Zig

    Phil Hughes needs a 5th pitch. Either a gyroball or a screwball should suffice.

    • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt ACTY

      Legalize the spitball for Phil!

  • Steve B-BALL

    Phil Hughes pitches a terrific game…….. All the other starters and relievers have been under Dave Eiland….. is this guy Eiland any good ????
    Bring back Stott!!!!!

    • whozat

      Yeah, because the last several years of the Mel Stottlemeyer era really featured some great coaching that really squeezed all the value that was to be had out of the staff.

      Also, the reason Eiland got the job is because he was the guy who coached a lot of our young pitchers in the minors and did a great job with them.

  • Rich

    Hughes’s GB/FB last season was 0.89 last year, last night it was 1.20, according to FanGraphs. I’d like to find out which pitch was inducing the most GBs.

    • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt ACTY

      Probably the cutter because of the inward movement to lefties or the curveball because dudes may’ve been jumping out at it. I had to watch via gameday and I’ve only seen brief highlights via ESPN so I didn’t see enough to see exactly what was what, if you get what I mean.

  • Dillon

    Hughes had to throw more cutters than you suggested. Cone said it. The majority of his pitches were cutters. It makes sense because he was sitting 84-88mph most the night, and once in a while he would throw a 2 or 4 seamer at 92-93mph.

    • Glen L

      I haven’t looked at the gameday speeds, but always take stadium guns with a massive grain of salt

      • Lanny

        You know hes probably been working on changing speeds the past yr. Doesnt mean hes throwing dif pitches