Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Hughes Is "Pain Free"
Will Throw Soon

Phil Hughes reports on his website that he hasn't been having any pain in his ribcage for a week and should begin throwing again soon:
"On another note, I have been pain free for about a week and hope to be throwing again soon. I also received my new Oakley prescription glasses for when I’m back on the mound. Should be pretty intimidating."
The phrase goes you can never have too much pitching. Hughes is a nice insurance plan to have on tap should Darrell Rasner or Mike Mussina suddenly come back to earth. It's amazing how quickly a 21 year-old can transform from the future of the franchise into an injury-prone disappointment in the minds of some fans.

No one is delusional enough to laud Hughes for his horrific start to the '08 season, but if this is what passes as patience for the Yankees fanbase, I'd hate to see them at the DMV. As someone who's seen him in person at Trenton and in the Bronx, few times have I been more confident about the future of a young player.

We could throw out the "struggling young pitcher" caveat which includes countless starting pitchers like Tom Glavine [7-17 in his first full season] and Greg Maddux [6-14 with 5.61 ERA in his], but we already know 21 year-old pitchers take time to adjust to the big league level of difficulty.

This is not to suggest Hughes will become a 300 game winner or a first ballot HOFer, but it allows for a bit of sanity within an insane conversation. Just remember this kid's arm possesses a 91-95 mph plus fastball, 75 mph plus hammer curve, 80 mph slidepiece and a developing changeup. This is not Nook LaLoosh we're talking about here - i.e. fastball, fastball and more fastball.

To suggest we've seen the peak of Hughes' abilities is just as knee jerk a reaction as it would have been had the Braves and Cubs organizations not allowed 21 year-olds Glavine, Maddux and 22 year-old John Smoltz develop. A World Series, a playoff streak and seven Cy Youngs later, it appears to have worked out pretty well for them.

Knowing how competitive, determined and proud a guy Hughes is, I will be very interested to see how he responds to his second consecutive injury impacted season.

4 comments:

Cam said...

Dude, thank you for this post. It makes me so mad when people are rady to write him and IPK off after 3 months of their first full season in the bigs. This impatience that has gripped many fans is annoying and completely degrading to the fan base in general. One just has to look to the last couple of years with Felix Hernandez and Scott Kazmir. They both took their bumps for coming up at such an early age and now they are finally emerging as the next great starters in the game. We all just need some patience.

Bronx Liaison said...

Cam.

Thanks for the intelligent comment.

I agree there is some ridiculous notion with SOME Yankees fans that every promising young pitcher should start his career like Doc Gooden. If fans want to see the Yankees again cultivate their farm system and infuse young talent at the big league level, the corresponding patience must also be included.

People like you are not alone. It just seems that the impatient Yankee fan who already call Kennedy & Hughes busts scream the loudest right now.

Anonymous said...

it takes time to learn how to pitch,keep runners on and go through the lineup several times.no 21 yr old pitcher makes it look easy.only time tells,he is a baby and usually the age of 24 they settle in maybe 23 yrs old.teams don't invest big money on one player anymore.the young kids are what teams are going to especially with steroids being monitored more.steroids kept the older players off the disabled list and kept them strong throughout the contract.those days are over,look at tampa bay where the kids are young,strong and don't need supplements for energy.look at seattle,they traded adam jones,sherrill,and 3 great pitching prospects for bedard and that trade failed misserably,santanna with the mets,zito.the yankees are doing it right.brackman will be in the mix in 2009 or 2010 with ace potential,sanchez,melancon,jb cox,horne,betances and many others.if they can get an ace or close to it without depleting the farm system at a reasonable price then fine but what they are doing will allow them to compete every year.zito has this year and 5 years after that and is terrible,that hurts a team.santanna will not pitch great for 7 years,he is already declining slowly,the signs are there,hits per innings pitched,whip,era,baa,that is another bad contract.the mets have a high payroll and no farm system at all,big trouble,the yankees are loaded with 84 million coming off the books in 2009 for the new stadium,fantastic position to be in with a ton of prospects in the mix.not all will pan out but with wang,joba they need 3 more and maybe a 6th for debth.wang,joba,hughes,kennedy,brackman,horne,sanches,heredia,betances,mcutchen and several more 6 pitchers shouldn't be a problem all at league minimum except wang plus montero a catching prospect and austin jackson in the outfield who both look great.they should be in a better position considering their payroll but cashman for the first year is doing it all his way and should be allowed to finish what he started because i believe he is building a team and farm system that will compete at a high level for several years to come.they have the money and farm system,not many teams can say that.

Bronx Liaison said...

I agree with the majority of your statement. Well said