• THT’s Kalk Looks At Hughes

    Posted by on June 21st, 2008 · Comments (7)

    (Thanks to WasWatching.com reader “OnceIWasAYankeeFan” for the heads-up on this one.)

    I just read Josh Kalk’s “Anatomy of a player: Phil Hughes” at The Hardball Times. Josh concludes that:

    Phil Hughes has a huge amount of upside, but there still are concerns. If he continues to not use his slider and change-up, he effectively becomes a two pitch pitcher. Now despite what you might have heard, starters can make it in this league with only two pitches as long as they are both quality pitches and if he can control them well. Hughes’ control doesn’t seem to be an issue despite his spate of walks this year. Everything that I read makes me think his control will be between good and great. The quality, though, might be an issue.

    The fastball that Hughes has shown so far is average at best. He might be able to spice up the movement with a lowered arm angle or make some mechanical adjustments to get back some lost velocity, but if it continues as it is right now, major league batters will hit it hard. His curve has extraordinary movement but maybe too much movement for his own good. If hitters don’t have to worry about the slider and the change, identifying the curve will be that much easier because I don’t see a good solution to how he can disguise the pitch any better than he already is.

    I feel like it is paramount that he throws his slider or change-up more often (preferably both) to keep hitters honest. Even if neither of these pitches are plus pitches right now, the slider at least has that potential. Most of Phil Hughes’ future is ahead of him and he should turn into a great pitcher, but he isn’t there yet. Time will tell if he makes it or not.

    This is an interesting read. To me, it paints Phil Hughes as being the next Aaron Sele.

    Funny, Sele was a first round pick (23rd overall) in the 1991 amateur draft (by the Red Sox). And, Hughes was a first round pick (23rd overall) in the 2004 amateur draft (by the Yankees). Cue up that Twilight Zone theme music…

    Related, in case you missed it in the past. Kalk also once took a look at Robinson Cano too.

    Comments on THT’s Kalk Looks At Hughes

    1. baileywalk
      June 21st, 2008 | 1:15 pm

      You must be blinded by hate. Most people would see this: “[his] future is ahead of him and he should turn into a great pitcher.” “He should turn into a great pitcher.” “HE SHOULD TURN INTO A GREAT PITCHER.” “HE *SHOULD* TURN INTO A *GREAT PITCHER*.”



      And saying he has to throw his change and slider more is hardly incisive analysis. Everyone knows this. His fastball also isn’t average — it has nice late life, despite its paltry and “hugely embarrassing” 91-mph readings.

      Anyway, props to Mr. Kalk for not being an overly reactionary dumbass while discussing the young 21-year-old righty.

    2. OnceIWasAYankeeFan
      June 21st, 2008 | 3:34 pm

      Let’s be clear here, baileywalk. Kalk says “should be a great pitcher” exactly one time in the article. Your repeating the phrase makes it out as if it is peppered throughout the article. No where else does he describe anything about Hughes as ‘great’ and in fact modifies his statement by saying he “isn’t there yet”.

      Can anyone deny that? And I’m not a Hughes hater and expect him to far exceed Aaron Sele as a major league pitcher.

    3. baileywalk
      June 21st, 2008 | 4:05 pm

      I was talking to Steve, RedSoxFan. Comparing him to Sele is a dis in my book, and I find it funny that he sees negativity in an article that states Hughes will probably be a great pitcher.

    4. TurnTwo
      June 21st, 2008 | 4:12 pm

      its funny. i actually get more of a sense from this article that Phil Hughes is destined to turn into Aaron Heilman (aka starting pitcher, or ultimately a bullpen guy, with two good pitches) if he doesnt continue the development of his change and slider rather than a “great starter.”

      i’m holding out hope for Phil, but really, if Phil Hughes turns out to be Aaron Sele, with a 13-14-15 year career of about a 4.50 ERA, it could be a lot worse for the organzation…

    5. ken
      June 21st, 2008 | 4:32 pm

      Consider Phil Hughes right now and not really knowing which way his career is headed. Then seeing how this kid Volquez pitched for Cincy on Fri against us and check out the post below from a reader on Pete Abe’s blog, and you realize how hard it is to know anything about young pitching.


    6. ken
      June 21st, 2008 | 4:33 pm

      OK so I can’t post a quote. try this:


      He’s a month shy of 25.

      He was called up at 22 on August 30th, 2005. He got lit up. Bad. Worse than Hughes and Kennedy in April. 6 games (3 starts), 0-4 with a 14.21 ERA and a 2.76 WHIP. OUCH!

      2006, did pretty well (but not amazingly well) in AAA, and was called up in August again. 4 runs in 5 innings in start #1, 7 scoreless in #2, then horrible from there on out. 1-6 in 8 starts, 7.29 ERA.

      2007 was up and down (his single-A numbers were bad), and had a nice run in AAA prior to a September callup…. and… 2-1 in 6 starts, 4.50 ERA.

    7. September 17th, 2008 | 10:54 pm

      […] after that, back on June 21, 2008, I shared that another scouting report, in my mind, painted Hughes as being the next Aaron […]

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