Yankees: I told Hughes so - Lady Loves Pinstripes Yankees: I told Hughes so - Lady Loves Pinstripes Yankees: I told Hughes so - Lady Loves Pinstripes
 

Yankees: I told Hughes so

Photograph of Phil Hughes taken on April 29, 2...

Photograph of Phil Hughes taken on April 29, 2008 at Yankee Stadium. 04:50, 1 May 2008 . . Mandalatv . . 1,272×954 (691 KB) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Is Yankees pitcher Phil Hughes irrevocably becoming what everyone touted him to be? 

After six seasons of being a source of utter frustration, it seems like Hughes has finally gotten it.

And I hate to say I told you so, but I did.

Countless times in the past, I have pointed out that Hughes lived and died by the speed gun. His fastball’s velocity went hand in hand with his confidence level.

At first, Hughes got away with primarily throwing his fastball when it clocked in at 93+ mph.

Like in his infamous All-Star 2010 season when he won 18 games, a number masked by the Yankee bats providing a ton of run support.

As expected this charade didn’t last long, as big league hitters eventually figured out Hughes’ love affair with his four-seamer. And it did not matter anymore whether Hughes was throwing 96 or 89 mph.

One time through a lineup, and then the home run parade usually started.

Honestly, after last season I started to question whether the potential I saw in Hughes was a hallucination.

And when Hughes showed up to 2011 Spring Training out of shape, I thought this guy doesn’t even care.

So I jumped at any opportunity to point out Hughes faults.

WHO IS AT FAULT?

The Yankees?

I continually questioned why Hughes had dropped the slider out of his repertoire, as it was a plus pitch with break and it induced plenty of swings and misses in the minors.

It was actually the Yankees decision to shelve Hughes’ slider in favor of working on a cutter. That proved ineffective so he went with a curveball and changeup vs. lefties but still had no go-to pitch vs. righties.

Surely tossing him between the bullpen and rotation couldn’t have helped either, at it causes uncertainty due to lack of consistency.

Or his own?

Hughes has suffered countless injuries over the years, which stalled his over all growth.

Along with his off-season work ethic being criticized too.

So I think both sides have played a part in the delay.

JUMP TO 2013:

Starting the season on the DL with a bad back, I thought here we go again with Hughes being injured.

Hughes never pitched in a Spring Training game, nor did he face live batters before making his first start in Detroit.

This seemed completely reckless on the Yankees part.

To put any pitcher up against Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder without proper rehab and practice starts was cruel to do.

Hughes struggled in that first outing vs. the Tigers, as well as his next one vs. the Orioles. (All stats courtesy of baseball-reference.com)

Date
Opp
Result
Dec
IP
H
R
ER
BB
SO
HR
ERA
BF
Pit
Str
StL
StS
AB
2B
3B
April 6@DETL4-8L(0-1)4.08430406.752187571652030
April 13BALL3-5L(0-2)3.095520310.291960371211630
Phil Hughes - 2013 Game Logs - 4/6 & 4/13

If you notice Hughes induced six swing and miss strikes in those two starts. A stat that proves very telling, as in his next two starts he combined for 16, and the two after that 33.

Looking back, I consider those two outing as the Spring Training/rehab starts he never got.

As Hughes has not been the same pitcher since, as his overall confidence looks different, just look at his last five starts:

Date
Opp
Result
Dec
IP
H
R
ER
BB
SO
HR
ERA
BF
Pit
Str
StL
StS
AB
2B
3B
April 18ARIL2-67.06220626.4326109752272610
April 23@TBRW4-37.06222605.1427109782292410
April 28TORW3-26.07221904.67261117620152520
May 4OAKW4-2W(1-2)8.04002903.60291188217182710
May 10@KCRW11-6W(2-2)5.27662324.432698702632310
Phil Hughes - 2013 Game Logs - 4/18 - 5/10

Why?

- He has stopped relaying completely on his fastball.

- Is getting ahead in counts.

- Confusing batters causing swing and miss strikes.

- In 39 at-bats his slider has produced 21 strikeouts and held batters to a .154 batting average.

- More mature body language.

If Hughes can keep on developing his curveball and change-up this season, I believe he will only get better.

He also needs to keep concentrating more on locating his fastball and not on its speed.

To sum this up,  the most confidant I had ever seen Phil Hughes pitch was back in 2009, when he was coming out of the bullpen.

That is until now.

 

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2 Comments

  1. Uncle Mike says:

    Feel free to say you told us so, because I did, too. In 2008, I did not want to put Hughes in a trade package to get The Great Johan Santana. How good does that decision look now? Hughes has a ring and may get more; Santana has become a liability with the most asterisked no-hitter ever.

  2. Richard says:

    I'm in total disbelief that you actually wrote this. You've gone from Useless to Hughes to I told you so. Utter total hypocrisy.
    Moreover, as usual your facts are a bit WRONG!!!

    His FB% has not changed. It's the same. What has changed is that he abandoned his cutter and reduced his CB rate for the slider. So now he's about 62%FB, and 18% SL, the rest CB/CU. Moreover, his FB has more movement.

    I think Phelps and Hughes make a terrific 4/5 tandem. Nova can pound sand.

    You also need to clean up your insistence that his 2010 season was masked by run support. It should read that the run support masked his pitching performance. He had something like 10 or more wins giving up less than 3 runs.

    Glad your Finally on the Hughes Bandwagon. But spare me the other stuff.