Quick musings on Hughes’ inning

Remembering an August series with Boston
Game 108: Taking it to the Sox

Earlier today in an appearance on Mike Francesa’s show, Yanks GM Brian Cashman all but admitted that Phil Hughes will not be moved back into the rotation this year. I echo what Joe said to me earlier about this: “I’m glad I came to grips with that earlier in the year.” In general, there are two problems with leaving Hughes in the bullpen: 1) the team needs another starter, and 2) he’ll be stuck on an innings limit again next year. The first part is most certainly true, there’s not denying that. But what about those innings?

Hughes has thrown 84.1 IP this year between the majors and minors. As a full-time reliever in the months of June and July, Hughes threw 13 and 14.2 IP, respectively. If we assume he’ll work 14 innings in both August and September, that would put him at 112.1 IP on the season, his most since throwing a career high 146 IP in 2006 and 42.2 IP more than he threw last year. Baseball Prospectus’ PECOTA adjusted standings say the Yanks have a better than 93% of chance of making the postseason, but even if we assume zero playoff innings for Hughes and he finishes the season in that 110-120 IP range, he’d be good for 150 innings or so next year. That’s … not terrible. Not ideal, but better than I thought it would be.

Remembering an August series with Boston
Game 108: Taking it to the Sox
  • http://twitter.com/Hopjake Jake H

    Why not have him go to Puerto Rico to throw 20 or 30 innings?

    • whozat

      You could. Send him and Ian down there together.

      I just can’t really come to terms with the team needing another starter and deciding to leave their best option in the bullpen, because Cashman can’t tell Mo that they’re going to take away his setup guy in order to give the team a better chance to win more ballgames.

      • http://twitter.com/Hopjake Jake H

        I do wonder if they could just have him throw some simulated games at the end of the season if he gets no innings during the post season

      • http://mantisfists.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/julius-carry-aka-shonuff.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

        “I just can’t really come to terms with the team needing another starter and deciding to leave their best option in the bullpen, because Cashman can’t tell Mo that they’re going to take away his setup guy in order to give the team a better chance to win more ballgames.”

        I know you’re kidding and that you know this, but for accuracy’s sake… While that was a silly thing for Cashman to say, it’s clearly not the reason why Hughes is in the ‘pen.

  • manimal

    Could he pitch in winterball?

    • http://twitter.com/Hopjake Jake H

      Only the dominican league or puerto rico. No Hawaii or Arizona Fall League

  • Adam

    I hope they send him to get STARTS in winterball

    • jsbrendog

      +everything i have in my wallet

    • BklynJT

      Sorry Hughes, no winter vacation for you. Get your passport ready.

      • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

        Not if he goes to Puerto Rico!

  • dkidd

    joe girardi is trying to repeat 1996, when the game was over after six innings

    phillies now have an extra starter. pedro to the bronx?

  • http://forums.projectcovo.com/images/smilies/e6omir.gif OmgZombies!

    Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo :(

    • JobaWockeeZ

      Well they’ve said this before you know. When they mention Hughes it’s a no. But it still sucks no matter what.

  • Mike bk

    30 innings in winterball and he is at 140-150 for this year and then he can go 180 next year which is about where he should be.

  • Brett

    Its going to make one sick bullpen for the playoffs (Joba-Hughes-Mo), if we have someone to pitch game 4.

    • jsbrendog

      id rather have someone pitch during september jobas starts and gie him one or two to end the season and have him start in the playoffs.

      • Mike bk

        hughes innings rate has actually gone up lately to more like 16-17 innings per month considering July we missed 5 days and he still went 14.2 and in the 3 weeks since the ASB he has worked 12 innings. now this will all depend on if they stop giving him the 2 out games, but if that rate is 17 not 14 we are looking at 118 going into the playoffs so maybe 123 or so and then hopefully winterball for 20-30 more.

        would we really expect hughes to go more than 180 even without a limit in his first full year starting in the bigs?

        • Mike bk

          that wasnt supposed to go there…sorry.

        • whozat

          Sure.

          Joba’s close to that pace, isn’t he?

  • yankee in virginia

    it is beyond stupid what they are doing with hughes — he should be starting — let aunt alice get 3 outs in one inning

    here is how jeter thinks going out to play
    – maybe burnett will be good we need 4 runs – Mo
    – maybe sabbathia will be good we need 4 runs – Mo
    – maybe joba will be good we need 4 runs — some bull pen, Mo
    – will we get the good andy or the bad andy – bull pen and Mo

    – who — we need 7 runs and luck, bull pen x3 and Mo

    more stress than needed

    problem is even when joba and pettit are ok to good the pen gets leaned on — so three out of every five games the pen gets stressed

    then we have the nonsensenical mr girardi – while not as bad as st joe – is both overusing the pen and not using them wisely — you can bet the tired mr sabbathia, petit, or burnett is going to put 2 men on base before calling on mr reliever – coke, robertson, aceves, hughes in a stress filled no-mistakes situation

    or bring in hughes with a three run lead in order to pitch two days in a row so he is not available for game 1 against the red sox – when joba might revert after extra day off and go 5

    — pettit is the 5th starter – hughes had the 3/4 spot before the silly CMW — think he’s hurt duh — experiment — should be in the rotation — balance the innings — make it work

    • BklynJT

      With all the bitch about the need of a fifth starter, you’d think the yankees are 1-3 when Mitre pitches, instead of the 3-1 right now. Obviously, those wins are because of the offense, but rally, what 5th starter is any good in the first place…

      Now, imagine the outcry when/if that ratio starts leaning towards the other side.

      If you look at the Hughes scenario, you can optimistically hope for Hughes to end the season around 150 pitches (which includes some innings in winter ball). So it is possible, that Hughes does reach some where near the phantom innings limit placed on him at the beginning of the year. The only problem is, I can easily see that Yankees NOT putting Hughes in winter ball.

  • Glen L

    I believe I recall Will Carrol talking about how the evaluation is slightly different when a young pitcher has pitched a relatively high amount of innings in the past (146 IP), but then regressed his IP due to injury … so perhaps next year Hughes can go beyond 150, since he’s been at ~150IP in the recent past … perhaps getting him up to 160-170 is a safe possibility?

    • Mike bk

      if he gets 120 this year and 30 in winterball he would be at 150 and then i think 180 could be had next year just like Joba will probably be on 180 unless he goes 160 this year then they might let him go closer to 200.

      • Chris

        The point is it’s generally considered to be based off the previous career high. So the 150 limit next year probably won’t apply.

    • Ed

      so perhaps next year Hughes can go beyond 150, since he’s been at ~150IP in the recent past

      What counts as recent past though? This is Hughes sixth season as a pro, and you’ve got to go back to his 3rd season to get anything more than 100-110 innings. It’s been several years since he got that high, and he’s really only done it once in his life.

  • Lou Fan 260

    I do not want to see Bruney, Coke, Robertson with a 4-3 lead in the 7th and 8th.

    • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

      Having that 4-3 lead is a lot less likely with Mitre and (the normal) Andy Pettitte on the mound before them. You can’t protect a lead you don’t have.

  • Lou Fan 260

    someone tell me Ramiro Pena is on the way to the big club.

    • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

      someone tell me Ramiro Pena Fransisco Cervelli is on the way to the big club.

      just love that guy.

      no, no logic, no facts…i just see his energy with my own eyes.

  • Mike HC

    I don’t get why a bullpen inning is not worth more than a starting inning. If starters can pitch 180-220 innings per year and relievers only 50-90 about, why does a relief inning count the same as a starting inning. Why does an inning where a guy throws 40 pitches equal an inning where a guy throws 10. If the Yanks are truly using this fixed inning, no matter what the other circumstances strategy, of protecting their young starters, it is a sad day indeed. Thankfully, I don’t think they do.

    • Ed

      I don’t get why a bullpen inning is not worth more than a starting inning. If starters can pitch 180-220 innings per year and relievers only 50-90 about, why does a relief inning count the same as a starting inning.

      In that context, innings are innings. Relievers throw 50-90 innings because that’s all they’re capable of. Almost all relievers are failed starters. They’re inherently worth less.

      Why does an inning where a guy throws 40 pitches equal an inning where a guy throws 10.

      It’s not really equal, but things get far harder to quantify at that point. We just go by innings most of the time because for most pitchers, things even out. Sure, we know that 240 innings from Halladay is roughly equal stress to 200 innings from the average pitcher, but guys like that are rare. And they usually don’t get to that point until they’re past innings limits anyway.

      If the Yanks are truly using this fixed inning, no matter what the other circumstances strategy, of protecting their young starters, it is a sad day indeed.

      They probably don’t. Odds are they have more advanced data than we do. They aren’t saying anything though about what their plans are.

  • donttradecano

    isnt it 30 innings over your career high, not previous year? If his career high is at 146, wouldnt 176 be his high?

    • Bob Stone

      I agree. That is my understanding of the Verducci Rule. It’s 30 innings over your recent career high (not the previous year’s innings).

  • EB

    We have already discussed the Verducci rule at length. It clearly states that a pitcher should not exceed their previous career high by more than 30 IP. Nowhere does it state that Phil 146 Innings has expired as relevant and that his new limit would be according to this year IP + 30.

    Mike you should know better than to re-hash something that has been debunked.
    If the yankees are following this Verducci rule, nowhere does it say that Hughes’ IP limit will not be 176 Innings.