Hughes or Nova? Or both?

In Hughes’ case, well, we all know this story by now. After winning 18 games and cracking the playoff rotation last year many of us were hoping Hughes would finally emerge as the front of the rotation starter he was projected to be as a prospect. Alas, a mysterious arm injury claimed the first half of Hughes’ season, and he’s been something of a train wreck before returning from the disabled list last month. His start last night was a solid one and probably gives him a boost in this competition, but he still didn’t miss many bats with his fastball, a potential reason for concern.

Thankfully the fact that the Yankees are a near lock to make the postseason makes this a relatively low stakes decision. They can pretty much go with either pitcher, or stick with a 6 man rotation for awhile longer, without much concern. There are good arguments on all sides, but personally I think I’d stick with the 6 man rotation a little bit longer. This way, Hughes and Nova can both continue to get innings in the big league rotation, and Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia can get some extra rest.

But if a 6-man rotation is out of the question, I’d prefer to see Hughes stick in the rotation. The strong postseason odds make the consequences of a disastrous start much lower, and because of that I’d rather see the Yankees bank of the larger upside Hughes offers over Nova. Nova might be a solid back end starter, but Hughes has the potential to be more of a number 2 or 3 starter if he can get all the way back. He’s been pretty solid thus far since coming off of the DL, and seems to be getting better with each start. I say let him continue to try to work out the kinks in the rotation, and hopefully he’ll be a viable option to start in October.

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.

About Brien Jackson

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.

31 thoughts on “Hughes or Nova? Or both?

  1. In Nova's defense, he has shown improvement over the course of the season. He allowed a ton of baserunners early on, but has been more limiting since mid-to-late June. I think he's struck out a few more too, but he's never gonna be a high K-rate pitcher. He's very much like Chien Ming Wang, I think.

    Hughes definitely has the higher ceiling of the two, though. I'd agree that he should have the final spot over Nova.

  2. Maybe Hughes and Nova can settle the final rotation spot over a high stakes poker game.

    What, too soon?

  3. Keep Hughes and Nova, send AJ to the bullpen/AAA. The first two actually have upside…

  4. The odds of the elder statesmen of this rotation getting through the last two months without an injury is pretty slim. Eventually, this situation will sort itself out when Colon, Garcia and/or Burnett get hurt. In the meantime, I think a 6-man rotation is counterproductive because it prevents the team's best pitcher from getting the ball as often as he could — unless they work out some modified form of a rotation where CC still goes every fifth day.

    But that seems like more trouble than it's worth — which is why sending Nova back to AAA until another opportunity arises makes the most sense. Like the man says, the Yankees owe it to themselves to try to find what once made Hughes the #1 or #2 prospect in the game.

  5. Given the fact that we have a couple doubleheaders coming up going with a 6 man rotation wouldnt be a bad thing. As long as the loser is sent to AAA and not the bullpen im ok with it. If its even i think Hughes would stay as he has more upside. Send whoever down and keep them stretched out.

  6. While we have gotten on the subject of AJ Burnett, i think hes been a good number 4 starter, which is not what we signed up for. The biggest problem with him is that he has a spot in the rotation for years to come, a spot i would as rather see taken up by Banuelos or Betances (not this year and probably not next). Heck I dont doubt that Nova, Noesi, Mitchell, Warren or Phelps could do his job. What I dont get is why the Yankees probably wont even consider eating a large portion of his salary and trying to trade him to another team. For most other teams this signing would set them back years, and if having Burnett own a spot in the rotation means the Yankees wont pursue a starter in the future (FA class 2012 cant wait) or give have an open spot for a highly touted rookie thats when it would hold the Yankees back as well.

  7. Both, How 'bout we drop Burnett from the rotation instead and save ourselves a big headache


  9. If A.J. goes through waivers and gets claimed, do you give him up?! I realize that this is probably too emotional of a night to ask this and get good answers, but really…. Would you? I honestly don't think i could do it!

  10. Posting with the advantage of having watched AJ last night – the answer is pretty obvious – keep Nova AND Hughes in the rotation, let AJ go work out his bugaboos in the pen. Last night, it looked as if he was channeling my old friend Sergio – except with worse control. Judging by last night, the only thing AJ is good for right now is long mop-up duty, in a game inwhich we're being blown out. Since he obviously can't hold onto a multi-run lead.

  11. I think you stick with the 6-man rotation a bit. It will ease the burden a bit on Garcia and Colon, one of whom is likely to turn into a pumpkin at some point, it will spare us quite so much of Burnett, and it will keep Nova's innings down while not treating him or Hughes like a rotation-bullpen yo-yo. Eventually Nova's going to hit some kind of innings ceiling, before Hughes will, but meanwhile the team is winning so the six-man rotation gives everyone a little of what they need.

    And yes, I'd let AJ go if he's claimed on waivers. I remember Jason's post in the 08-09 offseason that he loved AJ for three, liked him for four, and hated him for five years. We're only halfway through the hate. AJ's having a better season than last year, and has been remarkably healthy (for him), but for his paycheck you'd expect more.

    Do what you want with those five… Just don't do anything to screw up CC's mojo.