• Meet The New Phil Hughes

    Posted by on July 27th, 2012 · Comments (6)

    The sauce is no longer so secret.

    With an ERA of 2.77 over his last 9 starts, it seems to be working for Phil…

    Comments on Meet The New Phil Hughes

    1. Evan3457
      July 27th, 2012 | 4:32 pm

      The most interesting part is finally learning where the missing 2-4 mph went. When he came up, the FB topped out at 95-96, even when starting.

      The money quote:

      “I’ve gone through a lot of mechanical changes, especially stemming from the hamstring injury I had my first year in the big leagues. My stride, and things like that, have never quite been the same.

      And that’s how a potential top of the rotation starter becomes a mid-rotation starter.

    2. MJ Recanati
      July 27th, 2012 | 5:27 pm

      Evan3457 wrote:

      And that’s how a potential top of the rotation starter becomes a mid-rotation starter.

      That, and a lot of other things. Hughes hasn’t gone two consecutive years with the same arsenal (other than his fastball). He’s gone from slider to curveball to cutter to changeup back to curveball as his main second pitch.

    3. 77yankees
      July 27th, 2012 | 10:25 pm

      Some may make a big deal about the home runs he’s given up, but if you look at the top ten pitchers in history in HR allowed, seven are in the Hall of Fame, and most of them gave them up in bigger ballparks than we have now.

    4. Evan3457
      July 28th, 2012 | 1:22 am

      77yankees wrote:

      Some may make a big deal about the home runs he’s given up, but if you look at the top ten pitchers in history in HR allowed, seven are in the Hall of Fame, and most of them gave them up in bigger ballparks than we have now.

      It’s not total homeruns; it’s homeruns per 9 innings. If you give up a lot of home runs in a very large number of innings, either in a career, or a season, it’s not that big a deal, if you have excellent command of the zone in other respects, i.e., a low walk rate, and a very good K/BB ratio. In Niekro’s case, the knuckleball held down his h/9, but even so, whenever his BB rate got much above 3 per 9, he stopped being an outstanding pitcher. In the long run, it’s very hard to be an excellent starting pitcher if you allow much more than 1 HR per 9 innings. For the seven Hall of Famers in the top 10 of career HR allowed:

      Roberts: 1.0 HR/9
      Jenkins: 1.0
      Niekro: 0.8
      Sutton: 0.8
      Spahn: 0.7
      Blyleven: 0.8 (in spite of 50 in one season and 56 the next)
      Carlton: 0.7

      ==============================
      And Phil? Using only his innings as a starter, 1.34 HR per 9, and this year, with the 3 last night, a ridiculous 1.85 per 9. Nobody can succeed as a starter in the long run allowing nearly 2 HR per 9. In fact, only his outstanding BB rate, and K/BB ratio have prevented a disastrous season. He deserves some allowance for pitching in a home run park, which is a special disadvantage to him because of his high flyball/groundball ratio. But if he can’t get better command within the zone, and if he doesn’t use his changeup more, and more effectively, as soon as he loses a little bit on the fastball or curve, he’ll be pounded mercilessly.

      There are two possible upsides here. The first is he could gain command and confidence in the change. If he can do this, he still has a shot of being that front end of the rotation starter. But he’s walking a fine line here. The 2nd is that the Yanks trade him to a team with a big ballpark. If he were traded to San Diego, he might make the NL All-Star team for a few years. That wouldn’t help the Yanks because he’d be traded for less than he’d be worth to the Padres. But at least it would give Steve something new to blast Cashman for.

    5. 77yankees
      July 28th, 2012 | 12:39 pm

      It’s also a matter of the situation when they’d give them up too. Jim Palmer famously never allowed a grand slam. Tommy John said he learned it was better to walk in a run rather than throw one over the plate & give up up a grand slam.

      The pitchers above of a different era, had a “luxury” so to speak. They could start the 9th inning of a 5-1 game and give up a lead off home run to say, Willie Stargell, i.e., and know the manager wouldn’t be popping out of the dugout with the arm raised for a pitching change.

    6. July 28th, 2012 | 12:58 pm

      Hughes is like the iphone, every year a different version. This version is a serviceable 3rd starter and a quality 4th starter. The thing that concerns me about Hughes is his “Cindrella” syndrome. We saw it in 2009 and 2010, where he can go bad at any moment and stay bad until some fix comes along.

      Evan3457′s breakdown of Hughes is excellent, a must read.

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