Tuesday, August 28, 2007
All Hughes, All The Time
*I have made no efforts to read this over and check for grammar or anything like that. I’m studying for the LSATs. I just moved. I’m in recovery from one of the worst migraines of my life. I have a new, super time consuming internship. Grammar sucks.*
My initial goal with this entry was to figure out what’s wrong with Phil Hughes. However, after going through his last 4 outings pitch by pitch, I can’t say that there is anything wrong with Phil Hughes. What he’s going through is typical of young pitchers, even immensely talented ones, making their first go round in the bigs. This much SG has attempted to illustrate.
For those that are concerned about his velocity, I’m not sure there’s any sense in worrying about it too much. While he was only 89-91 against Detroit, he has otherwise pitched consistently at 90-93 with the occasional 94 or 95 thrown in. The good is that that 90-93 is comprised primarily of 92+s in the early going. The bad is that he’s had trouble maintaining it for the entire game. That should hopefully come with time…or as soon as Clemens gets him on the workout. Hughes is also a guy that for all the glowing minor league reports, has had stretches where he wasn’t quite right mechanically and his velocity would dip into that upper 80-91 range. So, my hope is that what we saw in Detroit was due in part to that and it will be fixed before his next start. Maybe he can talk to Mo about that after he’s done running with Clemens.
Where I would worry about Hughes is pitch selection. I’ve noticed Hughes shaking off some pitches here and there, which tells me he is being allowed to take a role in calling his games. If he is, the Yankees need to stop that. If he isn’t, and the Yankee coaching staff is, then I’m worried about the Yankee coaching staff. Hughes has had 12-15 pitch sequences in games where he will throw 90% fastballs. This is fine and dandy when you’re Wang and throwing a mid 90s sinker or Joba and throwing upper 90s 4-seamers, but I’m not so sure how effective this is with a low 90s 4-seamer. I’ve never played organized baseball, so I might be off there.
Another strange thing about Hughes’ pitch selection is that he doesn’t tend to mix changes and curves within an inning. Going through the past 4 games it’s almost as if it is decided that in Inning X he will use the change as his off-speed pitch and in Inning Y it will be the curve and never shall there be a deviation. Once again, I don’t have the real baseball experience to say what’s going on here or what the thinking is, but I would assume that this is something the opposition has picked up on and it’s allowing them to have an easier time guessing. I’d be curious to see if someone (SG) could run the numbers and see how batters tend to hit against Hughes with 1 out, 2 outs, 3 outs as far as batted ball outcomes.
So, in conclusion, I’m hopeful Hughes will right himself and I also really hope the Yankees decide to mix up the pitch selection. Long-term, I’m still a Phil Hughes fan, but in the short term there may be some growing pains, which will be tough to deal with given that Phil is now one of the guys the team needs to count on.
-Austin Jackson is in the AFL. I hope he performs as well there as he has at Tampa. Look, no negativity, Don.
-Nice to see Marcos Vechionacci making the late season charge for a .700 OPS, which may be enough to get him to Trenton for the start of the ‘08 season.
He’s going through his second spring training…...Played a round with Bob Boone over the weekend, and his take was that it takes time for even a veteran to retain a sense of rythem and leg strength…..He should round into form in the next start or so…..He’s been lights out minus a few pitches…..When he pitched out here in Anahiem last week, I had seats behind the plate and he was overpowering at times…..I think come October he’ll be dominating during the playoff run…..Now if they could just DL the team’s player rep, Mike Mussina…
Its Ian time! Waldman reports breaking news: Ian to be called up for Saturday’s start against Devil Rays
Pete Abe is confirming it:
In case you missed it, Joe Torre announced just a little while ago that Ian Kennedy would start Saturday against Tampa Bay.
Mike Mussina will remain on the roster and work on the side. He will not be used out of the bullpen.
Kennedy, 22, is 12-3 with a 1.91 ERA in 26 games in the minors this season. He last pitched on Saturday.
hmmm, Vechionacci was seen on the jersey at the turkey’s next this evening….
Ok, so, no Jackson in the AFL, apparently.
Eyechart is now taking at-bats away from Duncan in AAA. You can say what you want about Duncan, but you’d have to agree that if he is going to be in AAA, he should be playing.
It’s only until Saturday when he gets called up. If Duncan were setting the world on fire, they’d find a way to get him into the lineup. We should remember, too, that Duncan is still just 22. If he has a good year next year (all year), it would not be too late to turn things around for him. Personally, though, I think the Yanks are set at 1B next year with Betemit and Andy Phillips - assuming they are able to keep a certain 3B on the roster.
I’m just pointing this out because I feel it is a pattern this year with Duncan. Other “proven veterans” have taken AB’s away from him - I think they even started Angel Chavez in one game at 1st - when this should be a big development year for him. I mean, I definitely want the SWB team to win and all. But I seem to think that Dave Miley (who won MOY for the IL it seems) hasn’t given Duncan as much PT as he should have.
Trust me, I definitely know Duncan is 22, and expect big things from him next year. I’m going to take the glass half-full approach: his OPS in AAA thus far is .158 higher than last year. Similar improvement next year would put him at a respectable .850 or so.
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