Thursday, March 25, 2010

Hughes Will Be Fifth

The word is out all around that Phil Hughes will be the Yankees fifth starter on Opening Day. I can't say I am terribly surprised, but I am a little disappointed. I have always been a big Phil Hughes fan, and I always wanted the Yankees to groom him for a rotation slot. Still this move essentially throws away the past two years of Joba's development unless the Yanks send him down to Scranton, a move which seems highly unlikely.

I will say that Hughes showed a lot of improvement this spring. The one time I was able to watch his full "start" on Monday, he looked like a much more mature pitcher than in the previous two seasons. Perhaps his time in the bullpen allowed him to regain his aggressive approach on the mound. The five home runs he allowed in 13 spring innings is more likely a result of him toying with his change up than anything else. Despite that his change up has looked good at times and could become a difference maker for him this year.

It is also worth mentioning that Hughes will likely have a slightly higher if not the same innings limit that Joba had last season. How the Yankees handle that as the season goes will be telling. Have they learned anything from last year season's mistakes? We will soon find out.


Dan said...

Maybe they just like Joba from the bullpen better. I think the more clearly you define a player's role and your expectations of him, the better he will perform. They need to give each guy a job description and let him go do it. How good would you be at your job if they were changing your duties every couple of weeks?

Joey said...

Question: If Joba and Hughes are destined for the rotation this season. Who is there set-up/heir to Mariano? At some point, Rivera will either become ineffective or retire.

Peter said...

I hate the arguement that you need to have an heir apparent to Mariano. No one will be able to replace him and the likelihood that his successor is in the organization is small.

Plus it could be Dave Robertson, it could be Mark Melancon. There is always a hard thrower in the minors who can fill the role for a season or two.

Dennis said...

Maybe they just figure they will need six starters this season. Most teams do.

Basically a smart baseball team goes into the season hoping to get 100-120 starts from their top 4 pitchers, and figuring that 2 or 3 other pitchers from the fifth starter spot, the minors, and the bullpen, will make the other 40-60 starts.

The Yankees are a smart team, so maybe they are planning on 120 starts from Sabathia, Burnett, Pettite, and Vasquez, 25 from Hughes, and 15 from Joba.