• Callis: AFL Scout Says Hughes “Not Overpowering At All”

    Posted by on November 26th, 2008 · Comments (13)

    Via Jim Callis in the recent print edition of Baseball America -

    [Phil] Hughes experienced his own ups and downs with the Peoria Javelinas. He earned AFL pitcher-of-the-week honors after his first outing and started the league’s all-star game, but he also got shelled by the Scorpions and missed a start with a torn fingernail.

    Hughes mainly pitched off his 89-92 mph fastball and a plus curveball, a nice combination but not the 91-94 mph heater and knockout bender he showed down the stretch in Double-A two years ago. Whether he’ll regain his premium stuff once he stays healthy for an extended period remains to be seen. Whether he can stay healthy is uncertain, too, though he hasn’t had any arm-related problems since 2005, when he made two trips to the DL with shoulder tendinitis and a tired arm.

    “I just don’t see how he dominated the lower levels of the minors so thoroughly,” a second scout said. “He’s not overpowering at all. But he has a solid fastball and the curveball is OK. I don’t see what all the fuss was about, but he’s probably still a No. 3.”

    …I don’t see what all the fuss was about, but he’s probably still a No. 3…

    Sort 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 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.

    Yeah, I know, I know, it’s also been reported that Hughes was “throwing 94, 95 with ease” in the AFL. So, who knows which report is true?

    In any event, what do you think? Is Phil Hughes a future #3 starter, at best? Or, is he going to be an ace someday?

    Comments on Callis: AFL Scout Says Hughes “Not Overpowering At All”

    1. thenewguy
      November 26th, 2008 | 1:01 pm

      Wow, Steve. This is the most restrained thread about Phil Hughes I can ever remember. At this point, I’m really just hoping he can be a solid major league pitcher for at least a few years (be it a 2nd, 3rd, or 4th starter.)

    2. November 26th, 2008 | 1:05 pm

      Ace was probably too liberally used in the past for Hughes, but yeah, i think he could eventually wind up as a #3 in a MLB rotation if he reached his potential.

      this is why making him unavailable this offseason for a pitcher like Jake Peavy is ridiculous.

    3. Corey
      November 26th, 2008 | 1:14 pm

      or maybe hes “unavailable” so that if the yanks DO decide to add him to the deal, it will be seen as a big move and they may not need to add that many other chips…it could be a bluff by cashman

    4. November 26th, 2008 | 1:52 pm

      “it could be a bluff by cashman”

      how Machiavellian… but i think that’d be giving Cashman too much credit, especially on this site ;-)

    5. Corey
      November 26th, 2008 | 1:59 pm

      that’s what I’d do if I had the job :)

    6. Raf
      November 26th, 2008 | 2:23 pm

      Yeah, I know, I know, it’s also been reported that Hughes was “throwing 94, 95 with ease” in the AFL. So, who knows which report is true?
      ————-
      Maybe they meant km/h?

      :D

    7. Pat F
      November 26th, 2008 | 4:16 pm

      like steve always says, we just don’t know with hughes at this point. it’s wait and see. could be great, could be nothing, could be something in between. it’s not like joba, where you know if healthy he can really pitch. it’s also not like he’s never shown flashes of being good. we’ve seen both from him, and now we’ll just have to wait and see what he becomes long term. the most important thing for me is him getting through a season healthy and reaching his target IP number after these past two years, no matter what level it’s at or how effective/ineffective he is.

    8. OldYanksFan
      November 26th, 2008 | 8:11 pm

      The issue is not 91 or 94. His curve, when good, is dymanite. But most important is COMMAND. COMMAND. Maddux and many others. Stuff is great. Ryan had geat stuff. Not a great pitcher. Same with AJ and tons of other guys. Great pitchers need command. If they have stuff and command, then they become all time greats.

      So what we need from Phil is not another 3 mph but his ability to locate.

    9. November 26th, 2008 | 10:38 pm

      But, when you only have two pitches, it’s more than being able to locate. You better be able to SUPER-locate, like Maddux did. And, how many pitchers can do that?

    10. RollingWave
      November 27th, 2008 | 3:32 am

      it’s hard to define what a #3 is, some ppl think Wang is #3, if Hughes = Wang , I’d be pretty happy.

      Some #3 are guys that have years where they dominate, and then years where they’re either hurt and /or suck.

      there are very very few guys who are consistently just a bit above average.

    11. BILLSTYLE
      November 27th, 2008 | 12:52 pm

      Have we heard anything of this cutter that Hughes learned this year? Maybe he is throwing that pitch in the 89-91 range, fastball is up to 95 at times?

    12. fan9
      November 28th, 2008 | 4:12 pm

      i think if we get anything between what benes/pavano were in their prime, we have a very solid starter, and one that would be very successful for the yanks. benes won something like 150 games, and would have won more if he had better hitting behind him. i feel like all the speculation about hughes is overkill. let the kid develop and lets see where he is a year or two down the line. then judge. bust or boom.

    13. April 28th, 2009 | 10:52 pm

      [...] It was very nice to see Hughes’ fastball in the range of 91-93 MPH tonight. According to the Yankees’ Brian Cashman, there’s where Hughes’ fastball should be, in terms of speed, and that’s where it wasn’t recently. [...]

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