Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Phil Hughes Part III

Well Phil Hughes was going to come up to the bigs at some point this season. I'm sure the Yanks would have preferred his season debut come in May instead of mid-April because one of their top starters was a disaster, but such is baseball that these things are never predictable.

Hughes has been good again at Scranton, which has been the case anytime he has been at triple-A during his career. Now it's time for that to translate at the big league level. This isn't his first rodeo with the Yankees. We all remember his near no-hitter almost two years ago in Texas and we all remember his impressive showing in the playoffs against the Indians that same year.

But all those accomplishments seem so distant after his lost 2008 season that saw him fail to record a victory. He finished the season strong against Toronto and A.J. Burnett but now he needs to string together more than just one good start. Hughes needs to show that he can be a consistent contributor at the big league level. He still young. 22 to be exact, but he's had enough time to experience the wrath of major league hitters and begin to understand how he needs to adjust and attack them.

I'm not suggesting that he take Sabathia's title as staff ace this season. Far from that I just want him to show that he can be competitive at this level and that the potential remains for him to be a rotation mainstay.

Tonight will be a difficult test against a team that has some pretty darn good hitters. So here is your chance Phil Hughes. If you want to make a name for youself in Yankeeland then give the people want the want and, in some corners of this desperate fandom, what they need: a win.


Dan said...

I didn't realize Hughs was quite that young. In that case, there is very little reason to panic or force him along. It is interesting though how he dominates AAA and struggles in the bigs. Could he be "AAAA player" as Dennis would say?

Peter said...

It's a possibility. I think it's premature to say that he is. It might also be the fact that he never manages to stay in the bigs long enough to adjust and learn because he ends up getting injured.

That is a problem that Hughes has to kick too if he plans on being a top end kind of pitcher.

Dennis said...

He's been excellent through six tonight against a very solid Detroit lineup.

Hughes is definitely a major league talent. My question about him is whether he possesses the intestinal fortitude to pitch in New York, especially given all the hype there has been about him.

If I had to make a prediction about his future, I would say the next two years will be a bumpy road, and in about 5 years he will be a consistent number 3 starter, going 14-12 with an ERA around 4 for the Seattle Mariners or the Milwaukee Brewers.