• September 17th vs. The White Sox

    Posted by on September 17th, 2008 · Comments (17)

    Nice little win, tonight, for the Yankees in this one. Credit some fine work by New York’s bullpen.

    Before I forget: Man, I cannot believe that Dancin’ Bleacher Creature Dude has now caught taters two days in a row. The YES booth was right. What are the odds?

    The White Sox…I dunno. They have some holes. If Chicago and Tampa Bay end up playing in the A.L.C.S. this year, the Red Sox and Angels should be kicking themselves…for sure. (Yeah, I know, for that LCS match-up to happen, the Rays would have to slip into the Wildcard slot.)

    Of course, congrats to A-Rod this evening for becoming the first player in baseball history with 12 seasons of 35+ HR/100+ R/100+ RBI. That’s just incredible. By the way, the record for most seasons in a career with 40+ HR/100+ R/100+ RBI is 11 – by Babe Ruth. (A-Rod has 8 seasons with 40+ HR/100+ R/100+ RBI.)

    O.K., now, on to the story which is why many are probably reading this, here, etc. – Mr. Phil Hughes.

    First, let me share that I’ve watched many major league baseball games, to date, in my lifetime. If I had to come up with a quick number – but one that I felt comfortable claiming – I would say that I’ve watched at least 3,500 big league contests…and have learned a few things in the process…including developing a feel for certain things.

    And, I’ve now watched Phil Hughes pitch a few games too – including this one – and I am going to go on record something that may not make many Yankees fans happy.

    Actually, it ties back to a few things that I’ve said about Hughes in the past as well.

    Way back on March 2, 2007, I suggest that Phil Hughes reminded me of Andy Benes.

    Later, back on February 2, 2008, I shared that the scouting report on then 22-year old pitcher Carl Pavano read very much like the scouting report on Phil Hughes coming into this season.

    And, after that, back on June 21, 2008, I shared that another scouting report, in my mind, painted Hughes as being the next Aaron Sele.

    Today, based on the some-seven-thousand starting pitching performances that I’ve witnessed at the big league level and the feel that I’ve gained from that experience, and watching Phil Hughes pitch again tonight, I have to say that my past thoughts on him continue to ring true.

    Phil Hughes…at his worst will have a major league career much like Carl Pavano and at his best will have a major league career like Andy Benes. And, in all likelihood, Hughes’ career will probably fall somewhere in the middle between Pavano and Benes…and mirror someone along the level of Aaron Sele.

    Hughes has shown enough to suggest that he will be given a chance to pitch in the majors, many times, over the next ten years – provided that he is physically up to the task. However, while his “stuff” is major league caliber, there’s nothing that Hughes has shown (consistently in the bigs) that suggests he has the mind, heart and ability of someone who will go on to be one of the best pitchers in the history of the game.

    Maybe this will all change someday? Curt Schilling was a high-profile draft pick for the Boston Red Sox back in 1986. After that, he spent time with the Orioles and Astros. He had talent – but, it wasn’t clicking at the big league level…something was missing. And, then in 1992, it turned around for Schilling, at age 25, and he went on to star for the Phillies, Diamondbacks and Red Sox. Perhaps Hughes will have a turning point in his career…like Schilling…where something happens…or maybe someone throws down the chicken foot on him…and then everything will align into place for him?

    Anything is possible. But, unless that happens, I don’t think anyone in Yankeeland should start thinking about Hughes being a future ace in the majors. It’s just not there for him.

    Comments on September 17th vs. The White Sox

    1. Corey
      September 17th, 2008 | 11:19 pm

      Perhaps Hughes will have a turning point in his career…like Schilling…where something happens…or maybe someone throws down the chicken foot on him…and then everything will align into place for him?

      yea but they test for PED’s now…

    2. handtius
      September 18th, 2008 | 12:55 am

      I don’t think we’ve seen enough of Hughes to make a statement like that. He was rushed to the majors last year and did decent. He’s the second youngest starter in the majors and was bound to have set backs. Give him time, and more then a dozen or so starts, to make a damning conclusion of his future. Once he gets that third consistent pitch down I think he’ll improve massively. Whether he’s a #1, 2, 3, 4, or 5, we’ll have to wait and see, but you don’t give up on someone with his potential and track-record in the minors at the age of 22.

    3. Don
      September 18th, 2008 | 3:25 am

      But Steve! But Steve!! What about that six innings of no hit ball against the Rangers!! Oooops….. LOL

      The bozos at RLYW are so silly, especially the aptly named *yankeemonkey*.

      This is fun.

    4. Joel
      September 18th, 2008 | 7:34 am

      It’s still early, Steve. The guy can certainly pitch. If he stays healthy–and that’s a big if given what’s happened so far–he can be a top-end of the rotation guy for years to come.

    5. gphunt
      September 18th, 2008 | 8:02 am

      I have a feeling we won’t have to rely on Hughes being an ace anytime soon. With the way Hank runs his mouth the front of the rotation will be Sabathia, Sheets, Burnett, Joba, and Mussina.

    6. OnceIWasAYankeeFan
      September 18th, 2008 | 8:33 am

      Its funny to me that you make reference to all of the games you’ve seen, but give no explanation or description of how you actually come up with this conclusion, based on this great experience of yours.

      And of course that is ignoring the fact that there are professional talent evaluators who have seen ten or twenty times as many games as you have who don’t draw the same conclusions.

      And finally it really ignores the fact that you’ve stuck yet another nail in his “ace” coffin based on a single start at the age of 22. Now, what would have happened if Hughes threw seven innings of shut out ball, with 9 or 10 K’s?

      I’m guessing you would have told us the same thing, just worded it a little differently.

    7. Scout
      September 18th, 2008 | 8:35 am

      It always comes back to the team’s time horizon. In terms of the everyday line-up, the Yankees are built to win now — they are aging and their top players are in their late-prime or post-prime phase of their careers. The position prospects are at least two years away from making significant contributions. So if the team is to capitalize on its everyday talent, it needs to do so now.

      Hughes is about the future. He may become a star, but no one can say that with confidence. If the team can find front-of-the-rotation help this off-season, then Hughes could be given time to refine his skills in the minors or at the back end of the rotation. That strikes me as the best approach.

      On the other hand, if it becomes necessary to trade Hughes for other talent ready to help now, then that move would fit the make-up (age-wise) of this team. I would oppose a quick-fix, short-term increment — dealing Hughes for a guy in his mid-30s. But he should be treated as a useful asset if the team shops for a younger, established everyday player.

    8. dgreen323
      September 18th, 2008 | 10:01 am

      Of course it is too early to make this kind of assessment of a 22 year old pitcher who has not yet broken 100 IP’s in his major league career! This is ridiculous!

      Fill in the rotation next year. Give him a chance to compete for the 5th spot and let him work things out there. That’s how young pitchers do it.

      Although I do bow down before your authority as someone who has seen at least 3,500 baseball games in your life. In fact that’s really how I think we should assess baseball writers’ opinions. I hope going forward, all baseball articles will show both the writer and how many baseball games that writer has seen in his life. That way I’ll know whose opinions to value the most and who to ignore.

    9. September 18th, 2008 | 10:11 am

      FWIW, I was just trying to say that I’ve seen a lot of pitchers work in the majors. And, while it’s hard to define what it is that you see in the great pitchers, I know it when I see it.

    10. Scout
      September 18th, 2008 | 10:25 am

      Sounds like the Supreme Court justice who knows pornography when he sees it. 🙂

    11. Jake1
      September 18th, 2008 | 10:30 am

      Schilling threw high 90’s.


      Hughes is a decent #3 or #4 starter with an average fastball. certainly not a frontline starter.

      Certainly not someone who should ever have been untouchable.

    12. Raf
      September 18th, 2008 | 10:35 am

      And, while it’s hard to define what it is that you see in the great pitchers
      All you need to do is look at the numbers 😉

    13. dgreen323
      September 18th, 2008 | 11:13 am

      Use numbers to evaluate baseball players? That’s crazy talk. Word of the devil, I say. I prefer to evaluate pitchers based on those intangibles that you can’t quite observe, but you just know they’re there. You know what I’m talking about. It’s all about feel, things that can’t actually be measured or judged in any significant way. Anyone who says otherwise doesn’t know what he’s talking about, or is a witch.

      Let’s just trade Hughes for Aaron Sele already. At least we’ll know what we have.

      While we’re at it, is Mike Hampton available?

    14. OnceIWasAYankeeFan
      September 18th, 2008 | 11:30 am

      FWIW, I was just trying to say that I’ve seen a lot of pitchers work in the majors. And, while it’s hard to define what it is that you see in the great pitchers, I know it when I see it.


      OK. Did you foresee Lester doing what he’s done this season when you were enjoying his five inning/100 pitch outings and 1.5 WHIP? Or did you think “what is it they see in this guy?” just as you are asking the same question of others who have a different perspective on Hughes?

    15. nwyank
      September 18th, 2008 | 12:34 pm

      Lester always looked real good to me. Lefty, throws hard, good cutter, excellent curve, big frame. He reminds me of a yound Andy Pettite. No reason why he can’t be very successful, and he’s shown it so far.
      Hughes is a diff story. Righty with good but not electric stuff. That alone should warn fans to temper excitement.
      Steve has been correct so far, and I agree with his observations. He doesn’t hate Hughes, nor wishes for his failure. He’s simply been around long enough (like myself) to not fall for all the hype surrounding prospects.

    16. November 26th, 2008 | 12:57 pm

      […] of rides along with what I wrote back on September 17th: Phil Hughes…at his worst will have a major league career much like Carl […]

    17. December 22nd, 2008 | 8:22 pm

      […] of how I feel about Phil Hughes and his prospects as a big league pitcher, from many reports, he sounds like one heckuva nice […]

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