What Went Right: Phil Hughes

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Other than winning the World Series, there’s perhaps nothing more enjoyable in baseball than watching a young player come into his own. At least for me, anyway. The Yankees and their fans witnessed just that in 2010, when Phil Hughes made the jump from being a prospect to a bonafide big leaguer.

(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

It all started back in 2009 really, when the team shifted Hughes to the bullpen because at the time they had six starters for five rotation spots. It was either the minors or the bullpen, and unsurprisingly Phil chose the bullpen. He dominated the rest of the season and emerged as Mariano Rivera‘s primary setup man, showing confidence in his stuff and attacking hitters, a welcome change for the young kid that got himself into trouble by nibbling in years past. That confidence and mindset carried over as a starter, and Hughes was given the fifth starter’s job out of Spring Training this year, winning a competition that was for all intents and purposes rigged. It was Phil’s job to lose.

Because of the early season schedule, the Yankees didn’t need Hughes until the ninth games of the season, a home game against the Angels. It was a somewhat rocky start to the season, as he walked five and allowed a pair of runs in five innings, but it only got better from there. Hughes took a no-hitter into the eighth inning against the Athletics next time out, striking out ten and walking just two. Oakland scored one run, and it came when Joba Chamberlain let the inherited runner score. From there, the then 23-year-old Hughes held the Orioles to one run in 5.2 innings, then came seven scoreless against the White Sox, then seven innings and two runs against the Red Sox in Fenway, then seven more scoreless against the Tigers. Through his first six starts, Phil was sporting a 1.38 ERA and a .214 wOBA against.

Unsurprisingly, there was a regression to normalcy. Sustaining that kind of pace in AL East is near impossible. Hughes started to give up more homeruns, especially at home, and batters started to lock in on his fastball and foul off more pitches than before. As Joe explained yesterday, Phil’s season can be broken down into three distinct periods…

Thankfully for him, the home run problem is a new development. It might not even be a big concern going forward. For starters, seven of his 25 homers came against the Blue Jays, and six of those came in just two games. Furthermore, 12 of those 25 game during an eight game stretch during which Hughes struggled mightily. It’s the kind of stretch that many pitchers his age experience.

Before: 11 GS, 69.2 IP, 56 H, 21 R, 21 ER, 20 BB, 68 K, 4 HR

During: 8 GS, 47.2 IP, 53 H, 33 R, 32 ER, 14 BB, 34 K, 12 HR

After: 10 GS, 59 IP, 53 H, 29 R, 29 ER, 24 BB, 44 K, 9 HR

Hughes tossed up a gem in his ALDS start against the Twins (video), limiting them to four hits and one walk in seven shutout innings. He stunk in the ALCS like everyone else on the team, but the overall 2010 result for Phil Hughes was an overwhelming positive. First and foremost he stayed healthy, something that had been a bit of problem in the past. He soared past his previous career high of 146 innings (set in 2006) and threw 192 innings this year, playoffs included. The Yankees had him skip a few starts throughout the season to keep the workload down, and by and large it worked.

As for performance, Hughes’ ERA (4.19), FIP (4.25), xFIP (4.33), and tRA (4.25) all lined up, so there was little-to-no luck involved. He struck out 7.45 batters and unintentionally walked 2.91 for every nine innings pitched. Batters mustered just a .307 wOBA off Hughes (basically what Austin Kearns did as a Yankee), and his overall value was 2.4 fWAR and 2.7 bWAR. That puts his performance on par with guys like Tim Hudson (2.7 fWAR), Ted Lilly (2.3 fWAR), Zack Greinke (2.4 bWAR), and Tommy Hanson (2.5 bWAR), who are certainly among the league’s better hurlers.

Hughes is far from a finished product, and there’s a lot he has to work on both this offseason and going forward to take that next step towards being an elite starter. He needs to be more efficient and put batters away earlier, although going 0-2 on everyone and struggling to get the out is better than falling behind everyone 2-0 like he had been in the past. Hughes also needs to improve his changeup to better combat left-handed batters, who tagged him for a .320 wOBA this year (.292 vs. RHB). There’s more work to be done for sure, but the emergence of Phil Hughes as a legitimate big league starter was undeniably one of the best developments for the Yankees this year, and also one of the most enjoyable to watch as a fan.

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

    Nope. I’m not gonna say it. We’re all thinking it, but I’m not going to say it.

    (puts the past behind us)

    • Rick in Boston

      What, that Hughes still has ridiculous upside?

  • vin

    Relevant comparison…

    Phil Hughes’ most likely outcome is someone like Gavin Floyd.

    Agree/Disagree?

    • Accent Shallow

      Disagree.

      Compare their minor league stats — Floyd competed, Hughes dominated.

      Also, Hughes was reasonably effective in the big leagues prior to his age 24 season, whereas Floyd was not.

      I think Hughes has better stuff, and a higher ceiling.

      All that said, Hughes 2010 wouldn’t be out of place if it were one of Floyd’s seasons, so even if he never takes the leap, he can still be a valuable pitcher.

    • Mattchu12

      I’ve always pictured him as a young Mike Mussina.

      • Accent Shallow

        If he can pull a v.1997 Mussina season in 2011, they don’t need Cliff Lee. Of course, that’s not something you can rely on happening.

        • Mattchu12

          Honestly, maybe I’m biased, but I don’t think it’s out of the question. He’s a couple improvements from being able to do that in my mind.

          • Accent Shallow

            It’s not out of the question, but how likely is it that he does that in 2011? 2012? Ever?

            I wouldn’t be surprised if it were to happen, but unless you’re the Marlins or some other cheap bastards, you can’t plan your rotation around “100 ERA+ pitcher becomes 140 ERA+ pitcher.”

            • Mattchu12

              Like I said, if Hughes makes a few adjustments, I don’t see why he couldn’t put those kind of numbers up in 2011. Take out those eight games when he got rocked and he isn’t far from it, Hughes is closer than you might think.

              • Ed

                Take out those eight games when he got rocked and he isn’t far from it

                Every mid-rotation picture looks like an ace when you take out his 8 worst starts. I’ll go along with taking out an abnormal start or two, but if you’re taking out a quarter of the season without a good reason (say an injury), then you’re just looking at what you want to see rather than reality.

        • theyankeewarrior

          Hughes’ command is nowhere near Mussina’s, and it doesn’t really show signs that it ever will be.

          That doesn’t mean he can’t improve, it just means he probably wont ever be Mike Mussina.

    • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

      His ceiling is higher, but as far as most likely I think Floyd’s a solid comp.

      • vin

        That’s what I’m thinking. All young pitchers are just as likely to hit his ceiling as he is his floor. I think Floyd is somwhere in the middle.

        Floyd had a tremendously high ceiling – obvious since he was drafted ahead of Teixeira. He’s a guy who hasn’t yet become what everyone projected.

      • pete

        his ceiling is higher than Mussina? I have to disagree with that. Moose had a mid-90s fastball, one of the most diverse repertoire’s I’ve ever seen (two curves, a slider, a cutter, and a great straight change-up), and impeccable control.

        Hughes has a similar FB/cutter combo, and he also has two different curveballs, but neither of his are anywhere close at this point to where Moose’s were, even at that point in his career, and his change isn’t great at this point, and his command is not even close to Mussina’s.

        I think stuff-wise, Hughes actually is developing a similar profile to Mussina, and if it all works out, he may actually look like a a very similar pitcher, stuff-wise. And I suppose that his significant height advantage (6’5″ to, I believe, 6’1″) could allow him to feasibly add a little more to his fastball, but I think we’d have seen that by now if it were true.

        When it comes to command and pitching acumen, I don’t think Hughes has shown anywhere near enough to suggest he could ever be better than Mussina. I think people still under-appreciate just how talented Moose was. His combination of velocity, complete (and fully utilized) repertoire, and command was absolutely remarkable.

        I completely understand the comparison, based on stuff, but I think it’s totally unfair to say that Hughes has higher upside.

        • vin

          No, I think he’s saying his ceiling is higher than Gavin Floyd’s. Which I agree.

          Very few pitchers have ceilings higher than potential HOFers.

        • Mattchu12

          I think he was saying he has a high ceiling than Floyd.

        • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

          Yeah, higher ceiling than Floyd, not Mussina.

          • pete

            wow, thread-following fail on my part. sorry.

            I do think the Mussina comparison is valid in terms of Hughes’s ceiling, though.

            Right now, I’d say Floyd and Hughes have similar ceilings, but I like Hughes’s chances of reaching his better.

    • Mike HC

      I actually compare him to a poor mans Halladay, and if everything goes fucking perfectly, then an equal mans Halladay. I think Hughes will continue to add pitches to the repertoire, perfect the ones he has and continue to master the league and pitching. My hopes are high to say the least. The Moose comparison is not bad as well. Hughes is already as good as Gavin Floyd and that was in his first year of starting a full season pitching more innings than he ever has.

      • vin

        My point was… if you had to honestly project what type of career he will have – whose career is he most likely to resemble?

        Not if everything goes perfectly and he hits his ceiling. A Halladay comp is pretty tough. Mostly because they’re such different pitchers – maybe as Phil ages, he’ll adjust his arm slot and get spectacular movement on his pitches like Doc. Right now, I think its too hard to make that leap.

        My question is meant to:
        1) see what everyone honestly expects Phil to become
        2) see what everyone thinks about Gavin Floyd

        • Mike HC

          I felt like I kinda answered that, but I will clarify.

          I think Gavin Floyd is OK. Slightly above average at best, ha. Which is basically where Hughes pitched this year as a first full year starter and at an all time high amount of innings.

          I think Hughes will continue to be a power strikeout pitcher, and I expect him to be the type to continue to add pitches, and learn how to “pitch,” rather than just overpower guys. I don’t know if I can come up with a better comparison than a poor man’s Halladay. Or at least I can’t think of one off the top of my head. David Cone maybe.

          • Mike HC

            David Cone is really not a poor mans anything though obviously

          • vin

            You actually did answer those questions… I was just throwing them out there for the general public.

            Halladay and Cone are tough comparisons to make, and I honestly don’t expect Phil to reach their levels. Those guys had career re-defining moments which makes the comparison difficult.

            Doc had the mid-20s renaissance, and Cone had dynamite stuff as a young pitcher, but learned to “pitch” and throw the kitchen sink as he got older (as you alluded to) – kind of like El Duque.

            • Mike HC

              Exactly. That is the career trajectory I think Hughes will have based on his work ethic, ability to learn the cutter, and ability to control his pitches at such a young age. Optimistic for sure.

          • http://www.retire21.org Mike R.- Retire 21

            “Slightly above average at best, ha.”

            Touché

            • Mike HC

              All good.

  • Nick!

    I don’t think I’d comfortably give Hughes a “What Went Right.” More like What Went ???

    Hughes had a great game in the ALDS and a great first 5 games or so. But everything aside from that, for the most part, was pretty rotten. He never seemed to learn that Fastball/Cutter only pitching doesn’t work if you aren’t Mariano Rivera (especially if you’re a starter), and he would be brutalized by the lowest of low teams. I went to a game where he was knocked around by the HOUSTON ASTROS. He gave up a blast to Kevin Cash. After his stellar first 6 games, Hughes rocked a Burnett-esque 4.98 ERA the rest of the year. It was intensely frustrating, since he would get murdered by throwing a million fastballs and cutters, and then occasionally make a batter or two look ridiculous by throwing offspeed stuff.

    I have high hopes for Phil, and I think him having a full year of starting was excellent for his development. But this was overall not a year you can easily label “What Went Right”

    • Anthony Murillo

      /Rob’d

      • Mike HC

        People are allowed to disagree that Hughes is not that great or didn’t have a great year. Rob was a problem because he said it in every thread regardless of whether the thread was about Hughes or not.

    • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

      Totally disagree. If you had told me in April that Hughes would be a better than league average pitcher in 176 innings, as a 24 year old, in the AL East, that definitely went right. I see a ton of room for improvement with many of the issues you mentioned, but you couldn’t have realistically expected more from him heading into the year.

      • Mattchu12

        Dammit, not only did you beat me to it, you said it better.

    • Accent Shallow

      He gave up a blast to Kevin Cash.

      The worst thing about this was I believe it was a three run shot with an 0-2 count and 2 outs in the sixth, so if he bounces a curveball, he probably gets out of that game with 6IP, 2 runs, rather than 5 runs.

    • Mattchu12

      He pitched 176.1 innings of above average baseball as a 24 year old in the American League East.

      It went right.

    • batman

      how could you not label it “what went right”.
      his first full year starting in the majors, as a 23 year old most of the time, he flirted with 20 wins and a sub 4 era while striking out nearly 8/9 innings. if he dominated his alcs start you would be singing a different tune.

  • http://kierstenschmidt.com Kiersten

    I sure do love me some Phil Hughes.

    • Mattchu12

      Full on man-crush.

    • CBean

      Yes! Ditto!

  • Sweet Dick Willie
  • Mike HC

    I really love Hughes. I think he is going to be great, ace material when he hits his prime in a couple of years. It may happen next year though as well. I’m looking forward to going along for the ride.

  • Granderslam

    What Went Wrong: Hughes in ALCS

    I have such high hopes for Hughes though. I think he showed us a lot last season and proved why he deserves to be a starter for NYY (remember the Joba competition out of ST). He is still young, still learning, and will only get better from here on out. I am excited to see how he develops.

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

      Meh, he was in uncharted waters in the ALCS. It’s not something to be overly concerned with.

    • Accent Shallow

      What Went Wrong: Hughes in ALCS

      You mean “intentionally walking Josh Hamilton to get to Guerrero”. If you pitch to Hamilton, the worst case is that he makes it 3-1, like Guerrero did. More likely, he makes an out, gets on base without scoring the run, or makes it 2-1.

      From there, you can decide to let Hughes pitch to Vlad, or bring in the reliever.

      • Granderslam

        I’m referring to how he got pounded in Gm 2. I’m a Hughes fan, just saying that his ALCS didn’t bode well in comparison to the ALDS where he absolutely dominated. He didn’t pitch too badly in Gm 6, and in my opinion, Girardi took him out too early…I just think that overall, his performance wasn’t impressive in the ALCS, which should improve with more experience.

        • http://kierstenschmidt.com Kiersten

          You know who else got pounded in the ALDS? CC Sabathia, who will either be the Cy Young winner or the runner-up.

          • Granderslam

            Okay. So for argument’s sake:

            What Went Right: Hughes in ALCS

            Yup. Sounds good. Makes perfect sense if you ask me.

            I realize basically the entire pitching staff sucked in the ALCS, no doubt. Except Pettitte of course. But, since this is a thread about Hughes, I thought it would be relevant pointing out his shortcomings in regards to his overall performance in the Championship Series. I wasn’t criticizing him as a pitcher, I’m just saying the disparity from his ALDS and ALCS pitching performance was quite big. I think that the more postseason games he pitches in, the better he will do.

            It was simply an observation for his first time in a pressure-filled Postseason starting role…one in which could have spared us from elimination.

            I think that’s a fair statement.

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

              But, again, that poor performance in the ALCS is probably more fatigue-related than pressure-related.

              • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

                Or even, shit happens related.

                See Cliff Lee in the World Series.

                • Granderslam

                  It could have been fatigue, pressure, or just plain ol’ bad luck. Anything.

                  • gc

                    I don’t buy the pressure thing. Every post-season performance carries with it a certain amount of pressure. He certainly handled the pressure back in 2007 when he bailed out Clemens against Cleveland. And that was a potential elimination game for the Yankees.

              • tommy boy

                How do you explain the middle of the season suckfest? That ain’t fatigue.

                He also wasn’t “fatigued” in the ALDS.

                Fatigue = a useful excuse with no way to invalidate it

      • http://www.twitter.com/tomzig Tom Zig

        Why would you allow a struggling righty face Hamilton who crushes righties?

    • vin

      What Went Right: Hughes in ALDS

      He completely dominated a lefty-heavy lineup in Yankee Stadium despite being well past his previous innings level.

      I think Phil’s struggles in the ALCS was just due to rust (game 2), and facing an on-fire offense. It happens. that’s why the playoffs are a crapshoot every single year.

  • Thomas Cassidy

    Juan Miranda traded!

  • RR

    Miranada gone^

    Good pick up for the Dbacks and atleast the Yanks get a young pitching prospect.

    • RR

      Also, maybe this breaking the ice with Towers for a Upton trade?

      • Thomas Cassidy

        Upton for Gardner, Betances, Nova, and Adams.

      • Mike HC

        I would love to discuss this with you guys, but we should wait for the RAB guys to put a thread up, which I’m sure they will shortly. Lets have some patience.

        • RR

          True, we will pick this up soon.

  • ChrisR

    Stick to talking about Hughes guys, not a trade…

  • pete

    One of the nice things about Hughes’s occasionally maddening tendency to overuse the fastball is that, in all likelihood, a full season’s worth of 85% fastballs and cutters probably accelerated his development of those- by far his most important – pitches. If he can get his curveball and change-up command up to average/above average levels now, then he could probably have enormous success deploying a FB/CF/CV/CH arsenal at 50%/20%/20%/10% rates, respectively.

    Cutting back on the # of fastballs and cutters thrown would boost their effectiveness on its own simply by decreasing his predictability. Doing that after spending a full season perfecting those two weapons could really only magnify that effect.

    In other words, there are plenty of adjustments Hughes has to make to make the transition from competitive pitcher to frontline or elite pitcher, but some of them are so obvious, and could plausibly have such a huge effect on their own, that it really shouldn’t be very difficult for him to make them. I’m not sure how his arm will react to last year, but if it’s fine, then I expect him to pitch at a very high (albeit not ace-like) level next year – somewhere in the 3.60-3.90 FIP range. If he can continue to make adjustments beyond the obvious ones, and continue to hone in his command of all of his pitches, then I don’t think it’s unreasonable at all to think that he could be at the 3.00-3.20 FIP range (ace-like but typically not CYA vote-worthy) within three or four years.

    • Mike HC

      My thoughts almost exactly.

      • Mike HC

        Except for the part where you say a 3.00 fip or era or whatever is not CY worthy. I think that is more than enough to win the Cy.

        • pete

          Yeah I was thinking ERA on that one actually. Sub-3.00 FIPs are actually insanely rare. I should have said that I doubt Hughes will ever be a legitimate Cy Young candidate (key word: legitimate), barring some kind of injury to King Felix. I don’t see Hughes ever performing at a higher level than a healthy Hernandez.

          • Mike HC

            Well, I gotta agree with that, but I don’t think Felix is the standard for Cy Young candidate. Felix is the standard for like best pitcher ever, ha.

    • http://twitter.com/cephster Ross in Jersey

      If the solution was to simply throw more off-speed stuff, don’t you think he would have done that? If I had a dime for every time I was in a game thread and a “THROW DA CURVE” post was followed up by a “SHOULDA THROWN THE FASTBALL” after he got beat on the curve, I’d be a very rich man. It just ain’t that simple. Phillip needs to keep developing his pitches, keep refining his location, and trust his stuff and pitch selection.

      2010 was great in that we saw him start putting it all together. He’ll keep getting better.

      • Mike HC

        That is what he said. That he needs to continue to develop the pitches, not just throw them more.

  • http://theyankeeu.com Matt Imbrogno

    Biggest failure? Still not Chinese. He’s totally gotta work on that.

    • Thomas

      Hey not being Chinese gave David Carradine a career.

      David Carradine is Elvis of kung fu, having the honorable distinction of helping to pioneer western martial arts movies only by virtue of blatant racism. He is most famous for playing the lead in the 1970s kung fu serial, creatively titled Kung Fu, winning the part from Bruce Lee, even though Lee helped create the show for the sole purpose of acting in it. Apparently no one told Bruce that at that time Chinese people were considered “too Chinese” to play Chinese people.

    • http://theyankeeu.com Matt Imbrogno

      In all seriousness, though, the year we saw from Hughes was definitely a success. One half may look different from another, but the overall picture is a good one. To those who are discrediting Hughes a bit because of a shakier second half: if his first/second half splits weren’t so drastic and his bad starts had been sprinkled across the season, rather than concentrated in one half, would you have noticed? I think not.

      Hughes defintiely needs to work on mixing his pitches, but he was getting better at that by the end of the year. I’m not expecting ZOMG CY YOUNG in 2011, but I think he can improve on where he is.

      • tommy boy

        He was shaky starting the third week of May against the Sox. Then he beat up on the Orioles. Then he was really shaky in June. It was all downhill after April. That’s hardly half the season.

        Hughes defintiely needs to work on mixing his pitches, but he was getting better at that by the end of the year. I’m not expecting ZOMG CY YOUNG in 2011, but I think he can improve on where he is.

        There’s no evidence of this opinion. He was very mediocre from June on. And he’s no different as a pitcher as he was in 2007. He’s stayed healthy but he’s always been average or worse. That’s not improvement.

  • tommy boy

    Well, now we know why they shut down debate. I’d love to see them explain why Hughes got worse in the middle of the season then settled into mediocrity by the end.

    • tommy boy

      He stunk in the ALCS like everyone else on the team, but the overall 2010 result for Phil Hughes was an overwhelming positive. First and foremost he stayed healthy, something that had been a bit of problem in the past. He soared past his previous career high of 146 innings (set in 2006) and threw 192 innings this year, playoffs included. The Yankees had him skip a few starts throughout the season to keep the workload down, and by and large it worked.

      So basically the season was an *overwhelming* positive because he threw more innings? That makes no sense. Looking at the season with clear eyes, he had a good start, then was pretty bad from June on.

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

        Looking at the season with clear eyes, he had a good start, gave the team 192 innings of league average pitching (which, despite what you think, is a VERY valuable thing), didn’t get hurt, and is on track to assume a larger role next year and pitch better than league average, in all likelihood, as he continues to mature and refine his stuff.

        He also did it while showing glimpses of greatness (amongst a rather mediocre finish, I’ll grant you that).

        If you think that’s not an overwhelming positive, I question your standards. He wasn’t Felix Hernandez, no, but he did establish himself as a legit every-five-days starting pitcher in the AL East at absolute worst, and he’s under team control making peanuts and isn’t even 25 yet. That’s a damn fine young player we have now and can rely on.

        • http://theyankeeu.com Matt Imbrogno

          but he did establish himself as a legit every-five-days starting pitcher in the AL East at absolute worst, and he’s under team control making peanuts and isn’t even 25 yet.

          Nothing to add, really. I don’t think we realize how valuable this is.

        • tommy boy

          Sure, league average at league minimum is very valuable. But Hughes hasn’t shown growth in four years. He came up and was league average.

          He also won’t be league minimum for much longer.

          The worst part is the Yankees aren’t expecting him to be league average. Nor is this post. The problem is, nothing suggests that Hughes has actually improved at all. His stats certainly don’t. More innings? Meh.

        • tommy boy

          P.s. He showed “glimpses” of greatness in 2007. The bottomline though was the same: 102 ERA+.

          • Sweet Dick Willie

            ERA+ of 102 over 176 innings >>>>>>>>>>ERA+ 102 over 72 innings.

    • Mike HC

      Who is “they?”

      • tommy boy

        The site admins. They have an agenda and anyone that doesn’t toe the line is banned. Two posts in two days just to reiterate how awesome Phil Hughes is, all because a commenter outed the homerdom of the community and the admins. It’s like Phil Hughes is their sacred hobby horse. The Big Three!!!

        Phil Hughes has value. But it’s as a trade chip. He should not be blocking guys that have legit front-line potential. Hughes showing that has been rare and rarer. He’s still vastly overrated.

        • Mike HC

          Everyone has their own biases. It is impossible to avoid. One commenter went overboard because he went off topic over and over again. By having a Hughes thread at all, it is opening the door for dissenting opinions as well.

          • tommy boy

            Except they keep bleating the same drum and ignoring the contrary evidence.

            • Mike HC

              Most commenters disagree with the RAB guys all the time. They are prone to the same biases and blinders that every human being is. I don’t hold them to a higher standard than commenters. They are fans with right and wrong opinions just like us.

              The comment section is where you are supposed to call them out for shitty arguments and having those blinders on. Also to agree if you like.

              You just can’t go off topic over and over again to prove they are wrong no matter how much it bothers you.

              • Mike HC

                Also, they write whatever inspires them at the moment. It is their sight that they basically run for nothing. Hughes was obviously a heated topic at the moment, and they obviously had it on their mind.

                • Mike HC

                  *site

        • http://twitter.com/AndrewLeighNYC Andrew

          What front-line potential guy is Hughes currently blocking in your mind? Ivan Nova? Hughes’ development is why the Yankees don’t have to overpay for an undeserving pitcher in this weak market to fill out another of the 3,4 5 rotation spots. If Hughes doesn’t do what he did in 2010 say hello to someone like Jorge De La Rosa on a multi-year deal.

          And to say Hughes is overrated is to pretty much admit that you expected him to immediately be a #1 starter upon entering the league, no inconsistency or growing pains allowed. Now that he’s experienced some, oh well, he is just a product of talk and can’t deliver on the mound. His ceiling was, at his prospect hype peak, and still is, now going into his second full year starting in the majors, front of the rotation starter. Nothing has really changed that, and your perception is just off, unfortunately.

          • tommy boy

            Joba has always had more upside. better heat and better breaking stuff. And the pitchers coming up.

            Hughes is overrated. People still think he has frontline potential. I’ve see nothing to think that since he emerged from the minors. Maybe a frontline bullpen arm.

            • Sweet Dick Willie

              Joba has always had more upside.

              In case you aren’t aware, it wasn’t the RABbis who put Joba in the pen, it was the Yankees braintrust.

              So it sounds like your beef on that matter is with them.

              BTW, if you asked Cashman/Girardi if he was pleased w/ Hughes development this year, I’d be willing to bet that his answer is closer to the RABbis stance than it is to yours (and Rob’s).

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

          Nope, that commenter was banned to clear violations of our ever so simple to follow commenting guidelines. It was the same thing thread after the thread, regardless of the topic at hand. I asked him to stop, and he didn’t. End of story.

          I don’t give two shits if you don’t agree with us about Hughes, just don’t ram it down our throat in every thread with off-topic comments.

          • tommy boy

            And yet you continue the same retort – for two days now – as 90% of the commenters. You’re singing to the homer choir. It’s the same opinion in post after post. How is that any different?

            Because it’s your opinion.

            • http://twitter.com/cephster Ross in Jersey

              Are you dense? He keeps repeating it because people like you can’t seem to get the concept of “Debate is fine, off-topic thread hijacking is not”

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

              How is that any different?

              Who’s site is it? Alright then. Like I said, I don’t care if you disagree with us about Hughes, just comment in a way that’s respectful of our commenting guidelines.

        • Sweet Dick Willie

          He should not be blocking guys that have legit front-line potential

          Who are these guys that have legit front-line potential that Hughes is blocking?

          Please, inform me.

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

      Nobody “shut down debate”. We’re all still here debating it.

      What happened was, an insufferable asshat was booted for being and insufferable asshat. There’s nothing wrong with thinking that Hughes wasn’t a success this year; there’s something wrong with getting a bullhorn and repeating it ad nauseam in every conversation, including ones that have nothing to do with Hughes.

      • tommy boy

        Seems like the site admins are trying waaaaay too hard to counter the asshat’s legitimate points.

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

          Seems like the site admins probably had this article pretty much written way before that asshat said anything in the first place, and they tweaked it a little to address the issues that he brought up that someone else would undoubtedly repeat.

          Big whoop.

          • tommy boy

            So that’s why they ran the same point – in different guises – two days in a row and exactly after the dissent? It’s not like we have another four months to the off-season or anything.

            We get it. RAB loves Hughes. If only he were as good as they believe him to be.

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

              If you don’t like it, don’t read it. I was supposed to post this three days ago, but then Justin Upton and Gavin Floyd and a bunch of other stuff happened.

              • tommy boy

                Yeah, likely story. Except the conclusions couldn’t be more homerish.

                There’s more work to be done for sure, but the emergence of Phil Hughes as a legitimate big league starter was undeniably one of the best developments for the Yankees this year, and also one of the most enjoyable to watch as a fan.

                Yeah, that’s the season I watched from May on.

                • http://twitter.com/cephster Ross in Jersey

                  Yeah, that’s the season I watched from May on.

                  This is classic confirmation bias and the reason no one is taking you seriously.

                  From May on Hughes had a 4.43 ERA, 128 Ks in 158 innings, a .731 OPS against, and only 47 walks. You don’t see the value in this? You don’t see that, at Hughes’ age, he progressed very well and should only continue to improve and develop despite, at times, being the Yankees 2nd best starter this year?

                  If you think Hughes is overrated I don’t know what to tell you. No one says that he’s an ace or even close to it. Just that he has great upside that’s he’s just beginning to realize. If you can’t at least acknowledge that, you’re just showing your vendetta against him, RAB, or both.

                  • tommy boy

                    That’s a below average starter. It’s not Burnett/Vazquez bad, but it’s not a middle of the rotation arm either.

                    You don’t see that, at Hughes’ age, he progressed very well and should only continue to improve and develop despite, at times, being the Yankees 2nd best starter this year?

                    The problem is he hasn’t “progressed” at all. He’s “regressed”.

                    There is no evidence for that upside, except for a few starts each year. The overwhelming evidence says he’s average or worse.

  • EndlessMike

    Let’s remember that from August to the last two weeks of Septmeber Javier Vazquez was better then Pettitte and as good as Aj and Hughes.So lets not say Hughes was great or good.Lets give him more time he ain’t a Verlander or Lincecum.He ain’t gonna blow away people the Yankees don’t get those kind of prospects.

    • http://kierstenschmidt.com Kiersten

      …what?

    • http://twitter.com/cephster Ross in Jersey

      Amount of sense made in this post: Zero.