I got to see a little of Phil Hughes (pitching) last night on the YES Network’s encore presentation of yesterday afternoon’s exhibition game. As I was watching Hughes, he reminded me of someone – another right-handed pitcher. Basically, it’s Phil’s body-type that was acting as the recall trigger for me – more specifically, it was the size of Hughes’ torso (in comparison to his overall frame). It didn’t come to me, right away, as to who it was that Hughes reminded me of…so, I decided to sleep on it.
This morning, it came to me: Andy Benes.
Both of these right-handers are close to being the same size. Phil Hughes is 6’5” and Andy Benes is 6’6” – and I would bet that Benes weighed what Hughes does now when Andy was the same age.
Benes, like Hughes, came into the game with many high expectations. Andy Benes was the first overall pick of the 1988 draft – and he starred immediately by dominating in Double-A the following season.
Actually, Andy Benes ended up having a very nice major league career. Benes was in the voting for the 1989 NL Rookie of the Year. He was named to the All-Star team in 1993. Andy Benes finished in the “top six” of the NL Cy Young Award voting twice (1991 and 1996). He received a vote on the 1994 NL MVP ballot. And, Benes is the Padres’ all-time strikeout leader. There’s nothing to be embarrassed about on that resume.
Am I saying that, based on this, Andy Benes and Phil Hughes have the same “stuff” on the mound and Phil Hughes’ career will now mirror that of Andy Benes? No. I am not implying that at all.
I am only sharing that, at this moment, Hughes’ physical presence – based on his handedness and the construction/size of his body – reminds me of Andy Benes. And, that, after making this visual-based connection, it’s an interesting comparison because Benes, like Hughes, was a first-round draft pick who starred in the minors and quickly moved up the ladder.
This is strictly a subjective tale of the eye. Nothing more, nothing less.
Of course, if Hughes’ career does end up the same as the back of Andy Benes’ bubblegum card, that would be a win for him – in my opinion. It’s not as if Andy Benes had a career like Ben McDonald (who was another big, right-handed, first round draft pick who had very high expectations placed on him after dominating Triple-A at the age of 20).