• David Cone On Phil Hughes

    Posted by on April 24th, 2008 · Comments (4)

    A few minutes ago, in the YES lead-in to the first pitch of tonight’s game, David Cone, on Phil Hughes, said that that Hughes’ problem this season has been the second and third time that he’s faced batters in a game – meaning that’s when he gets hit. Not trusting Cone (Sorry David!) I decided to check the stats at Baseball-Reference.com – and, guess what? Cone was right. See the following for Hughes, to date, this season, in terms of what batters do after seeing him once in a game:

    	PA	BA	OBP	SLG       BAbip
    1st PA	37	.233	.324	.300	.269
    2nd PA	33	.407	.515	.556	.478
    3rd+ PA	13	.538	.538	.538	.538
    

    That’s tattoo-city after the first time through the line-up, indeed. How about last season? Here are the numbers:

    	PA	BA	OBP	SLG	BAbip
    1st PA	118	.192	.316	.343	.250
    2nd PA	117	.273	.308	.436	.299
    3rd+ PA	71	.238	.314	.365	.250
    

    Now, that’s much better. This suggests that whatever is happening this year is hopefully a blip type thing. It shouldn’t be a conditioning issue – after all we’ve heard about Phil really being in shape now. Perhaps it’s a pitch selection thing? At the least, it’s something for Girardi, Eiland, Hughes, Posada and Molina to think about…and maybe try something new.

    Comments on David Cone On Phil Hughes

    1. Rich
      April 24th, 2008 | 10:09 pm

      I would like to see a comparison of his pitch counts from this season and last season. We know that they have been high this season (I think they said 20 pitches/IP), so he may be wearing himself out early in games.

    2. bigapplesports
      April 25th, 2008 | 12:43 am

      I love the statistical breakdowns on Was Watching. They are always very insightful while remaining understandable. Your work inspired me to do a little analysis of my own on my blog, http://www.bigapplesports.net. It’s a breakdown of Ross Ohlendorf, and how he tends to struggle after his first inning of work. Check it out:

      http://bigapplesports.net/2008/04/25/questioning-ohlendorf-as-the-long-man/

    3. j
      April 25th, 2008 | 11:16 am

      I think we’ve all seen Hughes struggle with his pitch selection. It seemed like the first couple of starts (especially the one that he pitched well in) he tried to get through the lineup with his fastball and curveball as much as possible and then tried to mix in the change the third time through to help himself out, which is not a bad strategy at all. Then it seemed like the 2 pitch early on strategy betrayed him, and now we’re seeing the fastball, 12-6 curve and 10-4 slurve (I like how he used to set a couple of guys up, although it seems like that slurve is not a plus pitch yet as it was easy for guys like Thome and Dye to lay off, as opposed to the 12-6 curve which buckles knees with regularity.)

      So maybe the problem (in a relative sense of the word) is the strategy, which somewhat implicate Posada. I’m not saying Posada is doing something wrong, but perhaps it’s just an evolving process for the two of them to figure out what’s the best way to match up Hughes stuff and the hitter’s weaknesses to get him through the line up 3 times. Maybe Hughes and Molina would work better together?

    4. April 29th, 2008 | 11:03 pm

      [...] Actually, what Flaherty and Leiter were saying today ties right into David Cone’s point on Hughes the other day – that after the line-up sees him once, they pretty much have him sized up. [...]

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