Baseball America’s Jim Callis tackles the Phil Hughes Conundrum in today’s Ask BA column. As the grumblings about Hughes’ subpar 2007 performance have grown louder, many are starting to wonder if the Hughes Hype was simply hot air.
Here is Callis’ take on the Hughes issue:
Coming into 2007, I rated Hughes as the top pitching prospect in the minors. I still am very high on him, but the bottom line is that he hasn’t shown the same quality of pitches that he did a year ago. Instead of ranging from 91-95 mph with his fastball, he’s showing just average velocity at 88-92 mph. His curveball has gone from an out pitch to just mediocre.
This just isn’t the real Phil Hughes. What we’re seeing is probably related to the severe hamstring injury he sustained in his second big league start back in May. His command hasn’t been as sharp as usual, either, though that’s typical for rookie pitchers. In 2008, when Hughes is fully healthy and better acclimated to the majors, I think we’ll see why he was so highly regarded in the minors.
Basically, Callis is echoing what we said on Thursday. It’s quite likely that Hughes is still dealing with issues from the hamstring injury. Whether it’s a question of shortening his stride because of lingering fears of a recurrence or simply arm strength and mechanical issues from the long pitching layoff, Hughes hasn’t been pitching as Hughesian levels.
Right now, I’m not concerned about Phil. I’m sure an off-season of rest will do him wonders, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him turn it around this month and next. A healthy and effective Phil Hughes would be a huge boost to a Yankee rotation full of question marks after Pettitte and Wang.
In August, Andy Pettitte went 6-0 with a 2.36 ERA. With those six victories, he became the first pitcher this year to win six games in one month, and for his efforts, he took home the Clutch Player of the Month Award. Pettitte’s been a great pickup for the Yanks this year, and I can only wonder how 2004-2006 would have ended had Pettitte been in Yankee pinstripes then. · (3) ·
While those driving to the new Yankee Stadium will get slapped with a $25 parking fee, the parking saga doesn’t end there. Last week, during a hearing on the parking structures planned for the new stadium, the Bronx Borough President, in an exceedingly rare move, issued a formal protest to the city’s Industrial Development Agency. For more on the parking subsidy issue, check out Streetsblog’s coverage of the debate. Yet again, a sports team is getting a mighty good chunk of taxpayer subsidies for a new sports stadium. · (7) ·
Double-A Trenton was off today, and will kick off their best-of-five series against Akron for the Eastern League Championship on Tuesday. It’ll be an interesting series; Trenton’s pitching staff overwhelmed the EL this summer, but Akron’s trio of Chuck Lofgren, Jeremy Sowers (yes that Jeremy Sowers) & Bobby Brownlie (yes that Bobby Brownlie) can shut down anyone at any time (plus they have a rehabbing Adam Miller in the ‘pen). Akron also has a couple guys on their team named Rodney Choy Foo & Cirilo Cumberbatch, and I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I could bet against names like those.
So I missed a few minutes of the game, and Alex Rodriguez already has home run number 52. Why the Royals are still pitching to him is beyond me.
So says Peter Abraham. More on this tomorrow, but I’m not a very big fan of this news, obviously. Patellar tendinitis doesn’t heal in one day.
The game thread is kinda lifeless tonight (Holy Shit-Rod!), so I figured I’d get this posted. It is the playoffs after all.
What kinda fallout would there be if Dice-K pulled this shit in pinstripes? Lupica’s brain would explode.
Go read the first question of this week’s Ask BA.
Triple-A Scranton (4-3 loss to Richmond) Richmond wins the best-of-five series 3-1…Scranton’s year is over, so the Yanks are calling up Jeff Karstens, Mighty Matt, Sean Henn, The Ghost of Kei Igawa, Bronson Sardinha & Ross Ohlendorf according to Chad Jennings…only Ohlie’s call-up requires a 40-man move (outside of sticking Andrew Brackman on the 60-day DL, I don’t see any reasonable 40-man move that can be made)
Brett Gardner: 1 for 5, 1 E (fielding)
Jose Cruz Jr.: 2 for 4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K
Bronson Sardinha: 2 for 4, 1 R, 2 2B, 1 BB, 2 K – left 3 runners on base
Angel Chavez: 1 for 5, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 K - .291-.336-.433-.769…very nice year
Eric Duncan: 0 for 3, 2 BB, 2 K – grounded out to third to end the game, and Scranton’s season (I don’t mean to dump on the kid, there’s enough people already doing that)
Jeff Karstens: 7 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 1 HB – when you’re facing elimination, what more could you possibly ask from your starter?
Ben Kozlowski: 1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 0 K – after a great year, he just couldn’t get it done in this one
Ross Ohlendorf: 1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 1 HB – allowed the winning run in the top of the 9th on a sac fly
Could A-Rod hit home run number 50 tonight? Could the Yanks beat under-the-radar rookie Brian Bannister tonight? Can Andy Pettitte pitch deep enough into the game with a big enough lead for the Yanks to ignore the fact that they have no set-up guy tonight with Joba and Farns needing rest and Vizcaino on the shelf?
Stay tuned for answers to these and other thrilling questions.
Lineup in number form: