Yankees Rumors & News
This entry was posted on Wednesday, April 30th, 2008 at 11:44 am and is filed under Yankees Rumors & News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

hughes2.jpgSo, what is wrong with ‘The Franchise’?

It is painfully obvious that the New York Yankees’ Phil Hughes, youngest starter in the majors at 21, looks out of his league right now.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way for the phenom.

Over at Bugs & Cranks, I opined that it might be time for Hughes to make a few starts at Scranton to regain his seemingly shattered confidence.

At the awesome Yankees’ blog, River Ave. Blues, they are advancing a different theory. They say Hughes’ primary problem is that he does not know how to deal with failure.

From RAB.

When Phil was cruising through the minors, he’d be going five or six innings, and in many games he’d have just two or three baserunners. That simply doesn’t happen in the majors, not for a 21-year-old. Major league hitters won’t be fooled by the same stuff that gives AA hitters fits.

That’s fine, though. Every pitcher needs to make adjustments at each new level. Phil has to adapt to not only pitching with guys on base, but to the psychology of having guys actually hit you hard.

In other words, welcome to the majors, meat.

The problem is that he’s not adjusting. Once he starts to get hit, he’s all over the place.

I actually think there is a great deal of validity to this theory.

Think back to how carefully the Yankees handled Hughes throughout his minor-league career. He was generally on an 85-pitch limit. That meant he simply blew away low-level minor-league hitters for 5 or 6 innings, then stopped. He never pitched tired and rarely pitched out of jams.

Also, remember that he pitched very little last season. He logged only 72.2 big-league innings and 37 minor-league innings (28 at AAA).

So, Hughes has very little experience pitching to hitters who can actually do damage to the stuff he throws.

I still believe that a short trip to Scranton to fix his mechanics and his confidence is in order. In the end, though, Hughes is going to have to toughen up and learn how to pitch through some adversity.

That, unfortunately, will only come with experience.

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