The Yankees' No. 1 pick in the 2004 Major League Baseball Draft was Phil Hughes. You might be thinking right about now whether or not they should have traded him away to the Twins for Johan Santana.
The answer is no..they shouldn’t have. They knew a proven AL Cy Young caliber pitcher (CC Sabathia) would be on the market the following year. The Yankees made the right move by keeping Hughes. It may not look pretty now, but you never know how things might turn out down the road.
Every fan was complaining how the Yankees needed some younger players and guys coming up through the farm system. It finally happened and fans are already trying to drive him out of town. Remember that Hughes is still 22 years old, and don’t start comparing him to Carl Pavano because that’s just not fair.
Hughes has suffered some freak injuries during his short career. In early April last year, he was placed on the disabled list with a strained oblique and a fractured rib. It took him out for most of the season. They also found out that he is slightly nearsighted, so now he wears glasses on the mound.
After the International League playoffs, Hughes was recalled to the big league club. He was re-assigned the No. 65 jersey, and he was a totally different pitcher. It brought out the best in him. I guess the No. 34 just didn’t do it for him. Haha.
He made two starts in late September, which gave fans some hope for him:
Sept. 17- No Decision- 4IP 1R 1ER 2BB 4K
Sept. 24- No Decision- 8IP 5R 2ER 2R
Now let’s break down his 2008 season.
Before DL Stint: 22IP (W-L) 0-4 34H 23R 22ER 13BB 13K 9.00ERA .362BAA
After DL Stint: 12IP (W-L) 0-0 9H 3R 3ER 2BB 10K 2.25ERA .209BAA
It was good to see that Phil was able to turn it around at the end of the season. It gives fans something to look forward to going into this season.
Final Stats for 2008 Campaign
34IP (W-L) 0-4 43H 26R 25ER 15BB 23K 6.62ERA .314BAA
The Yankees sent Hughes to the AFL after the season was over to get some more work in. Phil’s fastball was in question when people discovered he was only throwing a 89-92 mph. The Yankees beat writer, Peter Abraham, spoke to several scouts who claimed he was hitting 94-95 mph on the radar gun with ease.
That is definitely something you like to hear.
|2008 Winter League|
The rotation has been filled up with no spot left for Hughes. The Yankees brought in CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett, and Andy Pettitte. That leaves Phil in AAA Scranton. Hughes doesn’t blame the Yankees for what they did, as he believes they tried to put the best team on the field. He will most likely be first in line if one of the pitchers is skipped in the rotation, or goes down with an injury. I’m sure he’ll get his chance.
This is a small clip of what he had to say.
Phil will get another opportunity to put on a strong display in camp. He will start Thursday’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays. The game will start at 1:15PM ET. All I ask of you guys is to give the guy a chance. He isn’t a 27 year old rookie with no talent...
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