The Future Is Now: The Debut of Phil Hughes (AKA: Jays-Yanks Gamer II)

The Phil Hughes Era officially begins tonight at Yankee Stadium. It’s an occasion Bomber fans have been anticipating for some time, and though it’s come a bit earlier than expected, its arrival is exciting nonetheless. Phil Hughes is the brightest prospect the Yanks have had in more than a decade, and he comes at a time when more and more attention is paid to rising stars. (Derek Jeter, for instance, arrived to far less fanfare.)
There’s good cause for the excitement: Hughes, in his short minor league career, has dominated at every level, and he has the "Big League body" that scouts adore. Last summer, between high A and AA, Hughes threw 116 innings, k’ed 138, bb’ed 32, had an era of 2.16, and allowed a meager ,179 batting average against. He was roughed up in spring training this year, and had a tough second outing in AAA, but in his third and final appearance in the minors he pitched 6 innings, allowed 2 hits, and k’ed 10 with 0 walks.

Those numbers have left many feeling that there is nothing left for Hughes to prove in the minors, that every pitch in Wilkes-Barre was a pitch that just as well could have been thrown in the Show. But the Yanks had promised to bring Hughes along slowly, protecting his body and his mind from the storm of NY. Well, that plan went out the window, for better or worse.
Much has been written as to whether the promotion of Hughes is a "Panic Move." That makes for interesting bar talk, but it’s not particularly relevant. What matters: Is bringing him up the right move, both for the team and for Hughes. That remains to be determined—certainly there’s no consensus right now. When the Yanks announced the move, we put up a snap poll and the results initially stood at 68 percent feeling the move was too fast, with 24 percent suggesting it was not. Those numbers have closed a bit in the interim, as more votes have come in, and, perhaps, some have changed their minds (that’s an option). We’ll leave the poll open for some time (feel free to update your vote or vote for the first time as the season progresses)—it should be interesting to see if and how this thinking evolves.
Meanwhile, we have Hughes to watch tonight. Look out for a fastball that clocks in the low 90s, a devastating 12-6 hook, and the occassional slider or change. The season record for wins in a season by a 20 year old is 24, a mark achieved by Bob Feller in 1939. That doesn’t seem like it’s in much danger. Frankly, it’s far too much to ask for. At this point, the Yanks just need a quality start, and they bring to the mound a man they hope will be supplying those for the next decade or more. Whatever happens, it will be interesting, and we’ll be commenting on all the action right here. Go Yanks!

79 comments… add one
  • I am excited to see this kid pitch. I made a special point of tuning into one of his spring training games, and it sure looks like the kid has got some serious talent, though his appearance then was quite underwhelming. Should be a fun night, and I think Hughes has a very good chance of winning his first start; he should have some runs on the board to relax him a little. That can’t hurt, psycholgically.

    SF April 26, 2007, 6:56 pm
  • Note: Tonight’s game is on WWOR in NY.

    YF April 26, 2007, 6:57 pm
  • So Jeter is out and Mientkiewicz is going to bat second. How does that make sense?

    SeanJ April 26, 2007, 7:00 pm
  • Joe made the lineup following Damon by Scrabble points. Who knows.

    SF April 26, 2007, 7:01 pm
  • Glad to have Leiter calling the game; certainly offers some insight on a kid starting his first game. Let’s hope Hughes isn’t Captain Blister.
    Funny, Leiter had a fine career, but had he debuted recently, he would have been abused lke Pavano.

    YF April 26, 2007, 7:07 pm
  • Hughes wears those Sox, a la Alex. Nice.
    Sister is a looker, too.

    YF April 26, 2007, 7:08 pm
  • Mientkiewicz is 3 for 7 with 2 BB lifetime against Burnett. Only actual evidence that I could find to justify the move.

    QuoSF April 26, 2007, 7:09 pm
  • First pitch is a fastball low inside to Alex Rios. Second pitch is a fastball right down the middle driven into left field.

    YF April 26, 2007, 7:09 pm
  • Lind gets a break on a fastball. Rios steals a base on the rook, Lind watches a killer hook high (carefull hanging that to Wells!), shows him another one, and then ks him on a heater running across the plate. Nice.

    YF April 26, 2007, 7:12 pm
  • Wells drills a fastball to deepest center, scores Rios easily.

    YF April 26, 2007, 7:14 pm
  • amateur hour

    llP April 26, 2007, 7:16 pm
  • And Frank Thomas singles in Wells from second. Not a bad pitch on 3-2, and he just missed the called third strike earlier. The Big Hurt with a real nice at bat.
    Hughes not getting a lot of help from the ump. Tight zone tonight.

    YF April 26, 2007, 7:18 pm
  • Though I’m a Sox fan, I almost feel bad for Hughes here, facing the meat of the Jays’ lineup in his first MLB start. Wells/Thomas/Overbay is damned tough.

    Hudson April 26, 2007, 7:19 pm
  • Eik, I miss the first few minutes of the game and look what happens!

    Andrew April 26, 2007, 7:19 pm
  • Overbay grounds to first on a CRAZY curve. Thomas to third after getting to second on a WP

    YF April 26, 2007, 7:20 pm
  • Minky saves Cairo there. Not, altogether, a horrible inning, though not what we were hoping for. He challenged Rios and gave up a solid hit, Wells put a real charge into one (but he’s Vernon Wells) and Thomas singled on a real tough pitch.
    You could see the stuff there. Let’s see how he settles in.

    YF April 26, 2007, 7:23 pm
  • Damon down 3 unassisted.

    YF April 26, 2007, 7:26 pm
  • Minky down 3-1.
    2 easy grounders to the right side.

    YF April 26, 2007, 7:28 pm
  • Just for perspective’s sake, Roger Clemens’ first start way back in ’84:
    So if he pitches better than that, he’ll have a better career than Roger Clemens. QED.

    Andrew April 26, 2007, 7:31 pm
  • Abreu K’s on a change. Back to Hughes.

    YF April 26, 2007, 7:31 pm
  • Another k to start the 2nd! There we go.

    YF April 26, 2007, 7:32 pm
  • Another K!
    Of course, these hitters really suck. But it’s good for momentum going back into the top of the order.

    Andrew April 26, 2007, 7:34 pm
  • Bang. Phillips Ks on a fastball. 2nd in a row and 3rd overall.

    YF April 26, 2007, 7:34 pm
  • I’d give Alex the green light just so he can have another shot at a pitch.

    Andrew April 26, 2007, 7:39 pm
  • Easy inning for hughes ends on the 4-3.

    YF April 26, 2007, 7:40 pm
  • Alex drills a 3-2 pitch to right. A new hit streak begins.

    YF April 26, 2007, 7:40 pm
  • Giambi fouls out to 3rd.

    YF April 26, 2007, 7:41 pm
  • Alex, showing all of his dimensions, steals 2nd.

    YF April 26, 2007, 7:44 pm
  • I heard Alex is a nine-dimensional player.
    Or at least that’s what his therapist told him.

    SF April 26, 2007, 7:45 pm
  • Matsui walks.
    Burnett looks like Bronson Arroyo.

    YF April 26, 2007, 7:45 pm
  • Yeah, he looks exactly like Arroyo. And Kyle Snyder too, since Snyder looks like Arroyo.
    Does everyone look like Bronson Arroyo!?

    SF April 26, 2007, 7:46 pm
  • 4-6-3 dp on a platter from Jorge. Back to Hughes.

    YF April 26, 2007, 7:48 pm
  • Damn it. Posada just misses a double down the line and to make up for it he grounds into a doubleplay.
    It woulda been nice to give Phil some runs.

    Andrew April 26, 2007, 7:48 pm
  • Gutty: After Rios clobbers a fastball foul, Hughes comes right back at him with a change down the middle, gets the fly to center.

    YF April 26, 2007, 7:51 pm
  • Lind ks on hi heat. k4. kid looks pretty wicked.

    YF April 26, 2007, 7:53 pm
  • Wells misses a meatball, throws the bat in disgust, but it lands in the stands.

    SF April 26, 2007, 7:54 pm
  • And they say his changeup still needs work, but he throws it in the majors, and right after he almost gives up a homerun.
    I like this kid.

    Andrew April 26, 2007, 7:54 pm
  • The ball, that is, not the bat.
    Nice hook on 1-1 but a tad outside.
    Wells tags the 2-1 fastball to center. Too much of the plate on that pitch.

    SF April 26, 2007, 7:55 pm
  • Wells singles to center after getting a borderline call. Not a bad pitch, again. Wells is tough.

    YF April 26, 2007, 7:56 pm
  • I like this kid.

    Not to be a d*ck, but I bet anything you were predisposed to like this kid no matter what he did. That’s not a knock, either.
    He looks really good, no matter the deficit.

    SF April 26, 2007, 7:56 pm
  • No hurt from the Hurt this time. A settled Hughes looks to be the real deal.

    YF April 26, 2007, 7:57 pm
  • Haha, I was just being…I don’t know the word. It’s kind of like saying “This guy has good stuff” when we all know he has good stuff, it’s not like it’s news.
    That said: guy’s got good stuff.

    Andrew April 26, 2007, 7:58 pm
  • Cano ks.

    YF April 26, 2007, 7:59 pm
  • Miggy pops out.
    Alex still our only hit.

    YF April 26, 2007, 8:01 pm
  • At least you have something fun to watch: the Sox are continuing to be completely inept at the plate (bring back the Yankees’ bullpen!), they can’t come up with any above-average defensive plays, and their pitching has so much pressure on them that anything less than perfection feels like a disaster. They are an amazingly frustrating team to watch at the moment.

    SF April 26, 2007, 8:02 pm
  • Damon bb.

    YF April 26, 2007, 8:03 pm
  • Hey, at least your team is winning!
    Don’t worry, you’ll get to the Orioles’ bullpen soon enough.

    Andrew April 26, 2007, 8:04 pm
  • Of course, I meant winning as in wins games more often than not.

    Andrew April 26, 2007, 8:05 pm
  • Yeah SF, we’re crying for your first place team—so ugly!—as we’ve lost 5 straight and are down again. Go elsewehere for sympathy!

    YF April 26, 2007, 8:05 pm
  • Another sb.

    YF April 26, 2007, 8:06 pm
  • Minky walks. That’s walk 3. And as Leiter notes, a 3-1 breaker to Minky.
    Leiter been all over Burnett’s pitching iq this game.

    YF April 26, 2007, 8:09 pm
  • Of course, I meant winning as in wins games more often than not.

    Andrew April 26, 2007, 8:10 pm
  • Seriously, I feel bad complaining about it (and I am much happier with them winning, for sure), but the Sox don’t look that great to me, whatever their record.
    Sorry for the honesty — I’ll remember to be reflexively supportive of my team and uncritical in the future, if it makes you guys happier. ;-)

    SF April 26, 2007, 8:10 pm
  • Abreu makes last out again, stranding 2 and leaving Alex in the batters box, this after some minor dramatics between burnett and ump ed montague over montague’s strike zone, which has been tight for both sides thus far.

    YF April 26, 2007, 8:12 pm
  • Okay, that was the first time I’ve double posted. Gotta stay away from that ‘back’ button on my browser.
    Abreu makes sure Alex hits with no men on base AGAIN. At this rate I’d almost be tempted to move A-Rod to third in the lineup so he gets those chances.

    Andrew April 26, 2007, 8:13 pm
  • fwiw, sf, i also think your team looks….meh. but i haven’t seen the team that doesn’t fit that criteria.

    YF April 26, 2007, 8:14 pm
  • Overbay bb.

    YF April 26, 2007, 8:16 pm
  • hill out 5-3, overbay to 2nd.

    YF April 26, 2007, 8:19 pm
  • This game may turn into a battle of the bullpens.

    Andrew April 26, 2007, 8:33 pm
  • Question:
    Did Hughes get a standing ovation from the pack of drunks fans at the Stadium?

    SF April 26, 2007, 8:50 pm
  • Biiiiiig difference there buddy. Hug(h)e(s) difference.
    Anyway, with the way this lineup is contructed I’m not surprised they haven’t sustained any rallies. You got Cairo and Minky two away from each other? What another awful, awful decision by Torre.

    Andrew April 26, 2007, 9:04 pm
  • Biiiiiig difference there buddy. Hug(h)e(s) difference.
    Yes, the difference being that Hughes didn’t even make it five.

    SF April 26, 2007, 9:11 pm
  • or look good.

    Anonymous April 26, 2007, 9:18 pm
  • Phil Hughes disappears, and so do the Yankee fans.

    SF April 26, 2007, 9:27 pm
  • I know right now it’s difficult to see beyond the score, but overall not a bad night for Phil. His real strength is his control and he didn’t have that early (understandable) and that hurt. As Yankee fans we knew that his pitch count would be and will be limited, so him not lasting is not a shocker. I would have liked to see him get a win, for himself, but I am satisfied with what I saw.
    I like the Igawa to the BP move also, get him straightened out then go from there.

    Triskaidekaphobia April 26, 2007, 9:32 pm
  • Wow, that’s a $50M middle reliever. Nice allocation of resources.

    SF April 26, 2007, 9:35 pm
  • SF does this qualify as needling or are you just flat out being a J.O.? Just curious?

    Triskaidekaphobia April 26, 2007, 9:36 pm
  • Uh, I am just giddy because Wily Mo not only got a hit, but a GRAND SLAM.
    So needling, with a touch of J.O. Sorry.

    SF April 26, 2007, 9:38 pm
  • SF is taking all he can get. If things keep going the Sox’ way like this, it’ll be exactly like last year when they don’t know what to do when most of their players’ talent regresses to the mean.
    And god, this game is so over.

    Andrew April 26, 2007, 9:39 pm
  • Oh, come on, guys. Igawa is now a mopup guy, and you don’t think that’s worth a comment? Were the positions reversed I think you’d be entitled, for sure.
    (Maybe I’ll put a thread up about it!)

    SF April 26, 2007, 9:41 pm
  • This is the part I don’t get about this site…There is a Sox thread, where mostly Sox fans hang out, why come here where we are discussing the Yankees and be a J.O. or needler? I am not saying Yankee fans don’t do it, but I don’t and won’t so to me when you act like this it really gets my blood boiling.

    Triskaidekaphobia April 26, 2007, 9:41 pm
  • He’s a mop up guy for NOW. He’ll figure things out, he has good stuff. Difference is in Japan as MK has said a billion times, almost to the point of nausea, he could get away working high. Here his fastball is ehhh, his changeup is good and his control has been awful. Nothing some work won’t or can’t help. I really think sending him down would be most beneficial, but that won’t happen.

    Triskaidekaphobia April 26, 2007, 9:48 pm
  • Because I am immature, despite being a father of two, a business owner, and nearly 40 years old. And also because I have had a tad too much Malbec.

    SF April 26, 2007, 9:49 pm
  • Wow… SF, you really killed this thread. Well, either you or the Yankee pitching staff.

    mattymatty April 26, 2007, 10:26 pm
  • hey all, thought i’d let you know theat jeter is on letterman.

    Tyrel SF April 26, 2007, 11:08 pm
  • “hey all, thought i’d let you know theat jeter is on letterman.”
    my mistake – or rather the time warner menu’s mistake

    Tyrel SF April 27, 2007, 12:13 am
  • I think the offense killed the thread tonite

    TJ April 27, 2007, 12:18 am
  • Just popping in to note that the Yankees are currently first in runs scored in the MLB.
    (Also, as an interesting bit of trivia, as of today the Devil Rays have given up exactly twice as many runs as the Sox (146 vs 73). I love RS-RA stats, they tell you way more than the standings ever could.)

    Kazz April 27, 2007, 12:33 am
  • When Hughes was leaving, the stadium just screamed Huuuuuuugh. I did it too. I admit, it’s fun! Try it sometimes.

    Lar April 27, 2007, 9:14 am

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