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Phil Hughes Isn’t A Starter

Phil Hughes
Stephen Dunn, Getty Images

After having another meltdown last night against the Orioles, Phil Hughes’ ERA now sits at 13.94 through 3 starts.

So what do the Yankees do with the 24-year old struggling starting pitcher?

Put him in the bullpen – for good.  That’s right, Phil Hughes isn’t a starter.

He’s just looked lost this season.  An ERA of 13.94.  He hasn’t pitched over 4.1 innings in a game all year.  He’s got 3 strikeouts total in 3 games.  He’s given up 16 runs in just 10 1/3 innings.  He doesn’t look comfortable out there anymore.

His velocity is down from 94 mph to 89 mph.  So his fastball is pretty much the same velocity as his breaking pitches.  Not only that, but he can’t even locate pitches even more!

Stop fooling yourselves Yankee fans, this isn’t some early season mechanical issue or an April fluke.  Hughes has had issues since the midway point of last season.

Phil Hughes
Nick Laham, Getty Images

Hughes was 11-2 before the All-Star break last season but went 7-6 with a 4.90 ERA in the second half.

He then pitched a great game in the 1st round of the playoffs against Minnesota but got shelled in his two starts against the Rangers (0-2, 11.42 ERA).

I just don’t think Hughes has the stuff to be a starting pitcher.  Sending him to the bullpen or putting him in the minors isn’t going to help with his stuff.  It’s not like you can pitch in a few “AAA” games and say, “Oh here’s my fastball”!

Last year, Hughes pitched 176 innings.  If you include playoffs, that’s more innings than the previous 3 seasons combined.  I don’t think he has the stamina to make it as a starter.

When he was in the bullpen, he was far better than he ever was as a starter.  In 2009, he went 8-3 with a 3.03 ERA in 86 innings and allowed just 31 runs.  That year, he started just 7 games.

Sometimes, projections about certain pitchers are wrong.  There’s nothing wrong with that.

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