What To Do With Hughes?

Born in Southwestern Ohio and currently residing on the Chesapeake Bay, Brien is a former editor-in-chief of IIATMS who now spends most of his time sitting on his deck watching his tomatoes ripen and consuming far more MLB Network programming than is safe for one's health or sanity.

12 thoughts on “What To Do With Hughes?

  1. jayrobertson

    ya know, its almost like all those guys writing blogs about "Who has options left" knew something they weren't sharing. Seems like Phil has at least one option left. IF there is nothing mechanical – send him down; since he does have an option, we don't have to manufacture an ailment like the team did with Wang his last season – just send him down til he remembers how to pitch. Heck – bring up Bano, or someone else – I bet even Igawa can give up 5 runs in two innings

    Colon sure did look good. I don't see him lasting much longer than 4 innings, but at least we'd be closer when he left.

    • BrienJackson

      If he can manage 4 innings out of the pen, I don't see why he couldn't physically do 5 or 6 with a full warm up routine.

      If he has an option left, I think I probably would send him down and let him work this out in the minors. Assuming there's no injury concern, of course.

      • jay_robertson

        from RAB:

        Hughes did use his first option in 2009, when he began the year in Triple-A and was called up in late April. He hasn’t been back to the minors since and has two options remaining.

        So it is a possibility. (almost said it was an option)

  2. Sabrina

    Hughes was so bad. I truly wished Colon had stared the game. He pitched well. I truly think something is wrong with Hughes…no way you go from 94 to 87…has to be something wrong.

  3. Hayley

    this isn’t the first time Hughes’ velocity has been down in april, though… the only other time Hughes had a start as early as April 3rd was in 2008, when his average velocity was 90.10, according to pitchFX, compared to 89.25 this year (not a huge difference considering his usual fastball velocity of about 93 mph, significantly higher than both). His next start of 2008, on April 8th, also lines up with the velocity he showed today; 89.96 mph then and 89.84 today. Now we obviously don’t know where his velocity will be over the next few weeks, but in 2008 it steadily increased over his next few starts, with a fastball averaging 91.95 mph in his third start on April 13th, and 91.97 mph on April 18th. I can’t remember what exactly was causing problems for him then, but all throughout April of 2008 he got rocked before injuring himself (unrelated) and finally sorting it out when he came back in september. With the type of talent he’s shown over the past few years, it’s very unlikely that anything like this will permanently effect him. People keep on forgetting that he’s 24, and even though he acts like he’s much older, he can’t be expected, just yet, to become an Andy Pettitte type when his fastball isn’t there.

  4. mark

    im more concerned about his complete inability to develop secondary pitches. the past two years its all been about the changeup, and so far he's barely used it at all. the cutter last year was a scapegoat to his inability or unwillingness to throw the changeup. his curveball has been incosistent and he doesnt seem too confident in it either. its frustrating as a fan because he says all the right things, but on the mound he doesnt seem to really trust his stuff. its got to be even more frustrating for the coaches.

    • piratechef

      +1 Mark….. Hughes has fallen in love with the cutter and has shown no inkling to develop his changeup; merely hoping it can be "passable". bollocks….his lack of interest and confidence in his offspeed stuff is going to be the end of him. i really like hughes, but this pigheaded approach to secondary pitches is going to not only fall him out of favor with the fans, but shorten his tenor in NY by a wide margin.

      phil better get his **** together or pack his bags for AAA where he can focus on becoming a more complete pitcher. enough is enough.

      nova on the bump tomorrow… take notes philip…. this guy trusts his offspeed stuff and will throw it at will.

      • piratechef

        *edit for tenor…. lol. he might as well start singing if he can't get his **** together.

        *tenure

  5. Other pitchers who showed significantly decreased velocity last April, and had tremendous years: Max Scherzer, Cole Hamels, David Price, and…..Phil Hughes. It's April. If he's still doing this in May, sound the alarms. For now, this is premature.

    • LarryAtIIATMS

      All this may be so … Dave Cameron said much the same over at FanGraphs. But did you actually see the game yesterday? His stuff looked like batting practice. I was chatting over at HBT and Craig thought his next stop was the DL. It's not like his stuff needs a little fine tuning. There was nothing there; kind of like Javy on his worst day last year. I mean, when Colon came in the contrast was amazing, in speed, movement and location.

      Pitching is a mystery, I'll admit. He could be the old Phil Hughes his next outing. But if we need to wait until May, I'm not sure how we'll withstand his starts between now and then. If he really is unhurt at this moment, I'm worried that he WILL hurt his arm in the effort to recover his stuff.

      Will, you know me, I'm generally not the first guy to hit the panic button. But I think we have a big problem here.

      • From my recollection, Hughes has had periods where he was eminently hittable throughout his career (once coming to the majors, anyhow). When Phil's on, you see batters taking really good swings….and missing completely. It is actually similar to Beckett's performance earlier in his career. He just had the ability to miss bats because batters would think they had him squared up, and end up hitting only air.

        My previous work on it indicated that this was a movement issue, not a velocity issue. I definitely think things aren't hunky dory–but I'm not all that nervous yet. To be clear–I'm not saying he's completely healthy, or that he's not. I'm just saying it's too early to be drawing conclusions.

        Hopefully he's ok. I still want to buy that jersey.

  6. Also, Brien–

    Hughes' velocity hasn't been the reason his fastball has been so good. It's the movement he's put on the pitch. I wrote a pretty lengthy piece on it a while back but can't seem to find it.

    While there's correlation, there's not necessarily causality (if those are the words my hung over brain is looking for, anyhow) between velocity and swinging strikes.

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