Oh noes! Hughes’ velocity reportedly down

RAB Live Chat
The RAB Radio Show: March 25, 2011

Via Danny Knobler, scouts are “stunned” by Phil Hughes‘ lack of velocity this spring, noting that he’s sat 87-89 with more 87’s than 89’s. Joel Sherman backs up the report, but says the Yankees and Hughes himself aren’t concerned because his velocity was down last spring as well. We seem to get a story on Hughes’ velocity at least once a year, though this year it’s a bit more of a concern considering his 80.1 IP jump from 2009 to 2010. The conspiracy theorists among us will probably think the Kevin Millwood signing indicates that the team is worried about their young right-hander, but I’m not sure I buy that.

Bottom line, if the Yankees were worried about Hughes at all, he wouldn’t be pitching this spring. His 22 Grapefruit League innings lead the team, and it’s not like he’s getting hit around either. If he’s still throwing 87-89 in May, then I’ll worry.

RAB Live Chat
The RAB Radio Show: March 25, 2011
  • S

    Thanks mike for answering my question (posted it in two areas of the site)

  • http://myspace.com/bksmalls Smallz

    I dont buy it all. Why would he throw as hard as he can in spring? Hes definetley just taking a more relaxed approach cause its games that dont matter.

    • AnthonyMichael

      I agree with pitchers being ‘arm conservative’ until the season begins. But I think there’s a bit of pause for concern even though Phil might have had this dip in his velocity issue last yr at some point(i need to look it up when)… I dont know. It’s an issue you don’t want to see in a young stud like this go thru who’s still growing.

  • Fernando P

    Hughes been working on a cutter. I would think that would mean some lower readings, no? He did have an impressive 7k’s in his last start against Toronto. And his change-up is quite good.

  • Jericho Spade

    It definitely has something to do with the 80 IP last year, I don’t think it is permanent, and probably a blip on the radar. Everyone has to remember this is only his second full year as a starter in the majors.

  • A.D.

    As long as he gets out, don’t really care how hard he throws.

    • Ted Nelson

      Agreed. I’m not too worried about velocity generally, though since Hughes has lived on his FB the past two season… a little more worried with him than some other pitchers.

      • http://myspace.com/bksmalls Smallz

        Totally agreed. I also really dont see any reason for him to blow it out in spring training. Theres no adrenaline or emotions going in spring, the game mean nothing. Hes working on location and his secondary pitches. Just out of curiosity anyone know what his slider was getting clocked at?

  • NJYankeeFan

    Definitely not good news but also no reason to panic. You always worry about injury in these young pitchers who lose velocity but the Yankees are so conservative, if he was the least bit injured, he’d probably would have been shut down already.
    I think the Millwood signing was more a lack of confidence in Garcia and Colon.

    • nsalem

      Their health rather than ability.

      • NJYankeeFan

        I agree.
        Millwood doesn’t really have any better stuff than Garcia and definitely less than Colon, but of the 3, he’s the best bet to stay healthy and give you 160+ innings and a WAR of 1-1.5

  • Kyle

    Oh no! Put him in the bullpen…and quick!

  • Monteroisdinero

    I am no expert on Phil’s mechanics but it seemed to me that in the Toronto game (last start), he was throwing with a more “easy” motion on his fastball-not extending his front foot as much. I think he is holding back just a bit on the fastball- maybe trying to work on location and throwing all his pitches with the same motion and arm slot?

    /have faith in Phil

    • http://myspace.com/bksmalls Smallz

      Maybe hes just been throwing changeups all spring hahaha

      • http://www.twitter.com/hulkheyman HulkHeyman


      • MannyGeee

        its that new slutter he’s been throwing around…

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

      He is coming off a career high innings workload too. He just might be playing it safe and waiting for his last spring start before the season to go 100%.

  • NYY

    You must be kidding. Any Yankee fan should be worried if Hughes is throwing at that velocity. Hughes needs to throw 93-95 to be effective; he has no change-up and doesn’t use the curve. If he’s off that by so much, he will be worthless in the coming year. This site should be renamed Yankee Apologists. Tell the damn truth!

    • http://twitter.com/steveh_MandAura Steve H

      Well done.

    • NJYankeeFan

      If Hughes continues to throw 87-88 fir the whole year, yeah there is cause for alarm because he’s gonna get hammered.
      As long as he’s not injured or having pain, there’s no need to be overly alarmed on March 25th since power pitchers usually gain velocity as the season goes on.

    • Ted Nelson

      “Hughes needs to throw 93-95 to be effective;”

      He averaged 92 on the fastball last season… but I guess so.
      I also guess spring training is the regular season…
      I also guess you missed this part of the article: “the Yankees and Hughes himself aren’t concerned because his velocity was down last spring as well.”

      “doesn’t use the curve.”

      1 in 5 pitches he threw in 2010 was a curveball…

      “Tell the damn truth!”

      Research the damn facts!

      • NJYankeeFan

        Pitch Fx had him at 92.5 last year. Don’t short change him the extra 0.5.

        • Ted Nelson

          Is this a serious comment or a joke?

          • NJYankeeFan


            • Ted Nelson

              That’s what I figured… but you never know

          • Peter R

            I took the whole thing as a joke…you seemed to take the initial thing as serious. Who knows what people are meaning around here. Need some /sarcasm action please.

  • NYY


    1. Hughes stank the second half of the year, when he was throwing soft. He was only good in the first half when he threw 93-95.

    2. What else are the yankees going to say? They need geniuses like you to buy tickets.

    3. Watch the games instead of reading fangraphs. He never throws the curve when he really needs it. He cannot get it over when he is behind, not even as well as a kid like Manny Banuelos.

    4. Statistics contain many lies. Only through watching, and knowing baseball, can one divine the truth. Stat freaks are nerds who don’t know the game, which is not to say that stats aren’t useful.

    5. Phil Hughes is not a great pitcher. He is effective when he zips fastballs past batters. Watch some games this year, and watch him especially against a really good hitter.

    • MannyGeee

      glad you broke this down for us…. I am completely done with these Yankees.

      now excuse me while I go bookmark bostondirtdogs.com

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

      1. Hughes stank the second half of the year, when he was throwing soft. He was only good in the first half when he threw 93-95.

      Fun fact, Hughes actually threw harder down the stretch than he did earlier in the year: http://goo.gl/3grF7

      4. Statistics contain many lies.

      Stats contain NO lies, they are factual records of what happened on the field.

      Only through watching, and knowing baseball, can one divine the truth.

      That’s dumb because your eyes can lie, and so can your memory. Far more than any stat can. Call me a stat freak that doesn’t know the game, but at least the facts don’t contradict my point.

      • NYY

        Stats of course contain lies. When you have a “stat” that makes a grand supposition and then omits certain data, that is a lie. What about a stat like WAR, which supposedly measures “wins”? What about a simpler stat like ERA? Does this really measure earned runs? What about on base percentage? Does this really tell you who gets on base against a tough pitcher? Nick Johnson has a slow bat and cannot hit a good pitcher, so he refuses to swing. And yet people say he’s a good player because he has a good on base percentage. Not really! He could never get on base against a pitcher with good control. Stats are a tool. But real baseball people know that stats can be used to turn people into fools.

        • Ted Nelson

          Who the hell are you that you’re such a baseball genius?

          Clearly not a mathematical genius…

          “Nick Johnson has a slow bat and cannot hit a good pitcher, so he refuses to swing. And yet people say he’s a good player because he has a good on base percentage. Not really!”

          He gets on base at that clip against MLB pitching… so in MLB baseball he is a good player. If you are creating some sort of “super-league” with only the best pitchers from MLB baseball… maybe Nick Johnson will struggle.

          I believe that this point proves you are far from a baseball genius… of course, this is an anonymous blog… so who the hell cares?

          “But real baseball people know that stats can be used to turn people into fools.”

          They can also be used to discern valuable information. Eyes and mouths can also be used to turn people into fools, and any sort of people know that… You don’t really have any points… you just want to call names to people you don’t understand.

        • Ted Nelson

          “Stats of course contain lies. When you have a “stat” that makes a grand supposition and then omits certain data, that is a lie.”

          It’s not a lie… it measures what it set out to measure. If you present that stat as something it’s not… then you’re lying. Fangraphs says that’s their best guess at a player’s value, and Baseball-reference disagrees… that doesn’t mean either is lying. If two scouts both watch the same player and come away with different conclusions on his value, is one necessarily lying?

          Numbers don’t lie, the people who interpret them can lie though. Which sort of shits on your whole theory that people are always right and numbers are always wrong. Stats are a way to quantify what you’ve seen on the field (and what you haven’t seen since no one watches every game every team plays).

        • Ray the Anti-Handle

          What about on base percentage? Does this really tell you who gets on base against a tough pitcher?

          No, because that is not and never has been the purpose of OBP. OBP Against for individual pitcher/hitter matchups? Maybe.

          OBP only lies because you don’t understand it.

      • http://myspace.com/bksmalls Smallz

        Its pretty ridiculous people are freakin out this bad. Its spring training. Talk to me at the All Star Break when hes still throwing 87 mph until then chill the f out

        • http://myspace.com/bksmalls Smallz

          Putting too much stock into what happens in SPRING TRAINING turns people into fools.

        • Poopy Pants

          Who’s freaking out besides one person in this thread?

    • Ted Nelson

      When you call others out for “not telling the truth” and then present blatant lies in your own argument… doesn’t come across that well. That was my point. It still stands.

      1. His worst months were June and July. I suppose you have a break down of his velocity by month or start that you’d like to share? If so, great. If not… you have no evidence.

      2. You still did not address the point about his velocity last spring… If it was down last spring and then up in April and May… what the hell is your point?

      Do you have gun readings from last spring? Care to share them instead of just insulting me?

      3. Manny Banuelos? You mean the kid who is regarded as one of the best pitching prospects in baseball?
      I do watch the game, thanks though. You said he never throws the curve… he throws it 20% of the time.

      4. That is an extremely ignorant statement. Learn something about statistics, then we can talk. Numbers do not lie, it’s about getting the right numbers and interpreting them.
      Absolutely, though, anyone who understands the science of statistics is clearly a nerd and clearly cannot know anything about baseball. Only people who do not understand the science of statistics can understand baseball. The two are mutually exclusive. Good points. Hooray for you.

      5. Who the hell said he was? I’m pretty sure you introduced that to the conversation.

    • pete

      “Statistics contain many lies.”

      No. They do not. No accurate statistic in history has ever contained a single lie. People can interpret them wrongly. That’s different.

      • NYY

        If a statistic is called “WAR” and it doesn’t measure wins, it is a lie.

        • Ted Nelson

          Again, different people can disagree without one having to lie.

          Two scouts watch the same player. They take away different conclusions. Is one lying?

          Does every scout and coach have the exact same valuation for every player? If not, are some lying?

          Now extend that logic… If two people look that the same numbers and draw different conclusions, is one lying?

        • pete

          it doesn’t “measure” wins. It measures impact, and then uses the term “wins” as a metric for impact.

    • ROBTEN

      So, “taking the piss” or nomaas…it’s hard to tell

  • NJYankeeFan

    Phil Hughes is 25 years old and is coming off only his FIRST full season as a starter.
    I don’t know why everyone so quick to criticize him since he’s still a work in progress. I think he’s right on track if he continues to develop to be a solid number 2/3 starter on a championship caliber team. It would not be the least bit surprising for him to pitch a full season at the level he did in the first half last year if he improves his command and secondary pitches a little more.

  • pete

    If he’s still throwing 87-89 in May, then I’ll worry.

    All of that.

  • WB

    Hughes doesn’t need to throw 95 to be effective, he needed to learn how to pitch effectively. Greg Maddux started out the same throwing 92-93, when he learned he could do more with control and a change of speed he was dominate and he hardly ever hit 90mph. There is more to pitching than fastballs.

    • NYY

      bravo. Greg Maddux was a pitcher. Phil Hughes is a thrower. Which doesn’t mean he can’t learn to be a pitcher, but he ain’t one yet.

      And I didn’t really read Nelson’s responses to my post. Silly statmen need to be ignored. I only wish I could ignore Brian Cashman, another of a silly statman crowd. Good thing Girardi knows something about baseball.

      • http://www.twitter.com/yanksnats4ever Alex C.


      • Ted Nelson

        Man, you are so enlightened and intelligent… Please teach me your ways, I want to be like you. I wish I could understand baseball as well as you do. Getting on base is not important… you have changed the way I think about the game entirely.

        Two scouts can look at the same prospect and have differing opinions without lying, but if two statisticians even bother looking at a player they are lying and wrong because they cannot know anything about baseball. Their mathematical abilities prevent them from understanding the game. You are so freaking smart. I can’t stand it! You are the best!

        Joe Girardi doesn’t use stats to determine match-ups! Good point, how silly was I for thinking he did? (This is sarcastic, d-bag, your idol Girardi uses stats… I guess that makes him a statman nerd you can’t trust…)

      • Ray the Anti-Handle

        Good thing Girardi knows something about baseball.

        Hold on a second. You call Cashman a “silly statman”, yet give Girardi a pass? I’ve got a binder to show you…

        • NYY

          Girardi is a reasonable man who knows that stats are useful but is also able to discern when stats mislead or provide no relevant information.

  • NYY

    you clearly have emotional problems. Good thing for you that there is sports to lose yourself into.

    • stunna4885

      nyy your a complete and utter fool. stop watching baseball you have no clue what your talking about. and yes by now we’ve all figured out that your a closet red sox fan trolling yankee sites to get attention. “hughes is a thrower not a pitcher”. Are u kidding me? almost every power pitcher’s velo is down during the spring and to win 18 games with a 4 era in the best division in the sport in your first year as a fulltime starter is impressive.

      • NYY


        1. Remember to capitalize!

        2. I was born in the Bronx.

        3. Hughes’s ERA the second half: 4.90.

        4. Hughes is a nice kid, I wish him luck, but without a hard fastball or a good change, he will be letting up a lot of home runs to lefties in Yankee stadium. Think about Ortiz, Gonzalez, Crawford, Morneau, Mauer, Kubel, Thome, Damon, etc. facing Hughes. He will not be able to get them out in New York.

      • NYY

        Also, it’s “you’re a fool,” not “your a fool.” You need to work on your grammar. Really, my sixth grader would be ashamed of such bad grammar.

  • stunna4885

    phil hughes pitches 91-94 with his fastball, a quality cutter, a good curve he needs to trust more and a developing changeup that he wont necessarily need if he continues mastering this new cutter/slider pitch. the guy continues to work on his craft and will continue to be a good pitcher in this league. he will be a solid #2 with still the chance to be an ace in the future.

  • Yardisiak

    He did average 92+ in each of his first three starts last year. I am not saying we need to panic but this certainly bears watching.

    • Lou

      they will monitor Phil very closely early on coming off his highest IP last year but no cause for concern when its March.