Sunday, December 20, 2009

Phil Hughes 2010

Phil Hughes has had his ups and downs the past few years. He's gone from elite prospect to struggling major league starter to lights out reliever. The Yankees recently acknowledged that he's not even guaranteed a spot in their rotation for 2010. They anticipate putting either Hughes or Joba Chamberlain in the rotation, and putting the other in the bullpen for now. I think that given Chamberlain's inconsistency in 2009, and past dominance in the bullpen, Hughes is the more likely one to be used as a starter. If he is, I think he'll be very effective. He's not going to match the numbers he achieved in 2009, working mostly out of the bullpen (K/9: 10.05, BB/9: 2.93), but I think a strikeout rate of around 8 per 9 innings and a work rate around 3 (with an ERA around 4) would be very achievable. He's still very young (23), so there's plenty of upside. And playing on the Yankees, he should have an offense capable of helping him to plenty of wins. Uncertainty about his role, and his lack of past success as a major leagues starter should combine to make him a draft day bargain. Hughes is exactly the sort of high risk/high reward player that I like to target in the late rounds of drafts.

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