Friday, December 26, 2008

Phil Hughes 2009

Depending on how things shake out over the Winter, it looks like Phil Hughes may end up as the Yankees #6 starting pitcher in 2009. That would probably mean some time in AAA and some time filling in for injured starters in the majors. That's not what I had in mind when I wrote about Hughes prior to the 2007 season. I described him as the real deal and predicted that he'd be an effective major league starter by the All-Star break. Actually, those predictions were right, but in an injury plagued year, he took a step back this year as he only managed somewhat ineffective 34 major league innings. I think Hughes is a pitcher who should be watched closely in Spring Training. In particular, wait to see what his strikeout rate is. Even in limited sample sizes of 15-20 innings, that can be a good indicator as to health and general effectiveness. If his rate is up near one per inning, then he's likely to pitch well at whatever level he's placed. If it's down near 5 or 6 then something may be wrong - whether health related or mechanics related (as some surmised last year).

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