Phil Hughes Should Not Be a Starter

If last night was enough, I really think the Yankees need to consider removing Phil Hughes from the starting rotation and put him in the bullpen. I know that all Yankees fans think he’s a legitimate “quality” starter, but the fact of the matter is, he definitely is not! Looking at his stats in 2009 and 2010 were enough for me to base this judgment. At the start of 2009, Hughes was in the Yankees starting rotation, and struggled. After being removed from the rotation and put into the bullpen, his ERA was cut by almost 75% (as seen in the table below)…

2009 Stats Wins Losses IP ERA Ks Hits ERs
Starter 3 2 34.2 5.45 31 37 21
Reliever 5 1 51.1 1.40 65 31 8

If the stats above don’t make you believe that Hughes would be better out of the bullpen, why don’t we take a look at his stats during the 2010 season when EVERYONE became a fan of Hughes because he won 18 games. In 2010, sure, Phil Hughes looked amazing from a win-loss perspective; however, when you look deeper at his stats, you find that he was nothing more than a mediocre starter. Hughes went 18-8, and everyone thought that our homegrown talent had finally arrived.

After looking at his stats outside of win-loss, we see that he had a sub-par 4.19 ERA on the season, with 162 hits in 176.1 IP, with 146 K’s, 58 BB, and a 1.24 WHIP. Sure he got a lot of wins, but the stat that no one looks at that played a HUGE part in his win total for all of 2010 is the fact that the Yankees averaged 6.75 runs per game that Hughes started.

So, we’ve looked at 2009 and 2010… and we all know how 2011 and 2012 (so far) has turned out as a starter. But if you don’t know, I will share his overall stats.

Wins Losses IP ERA Ks Hits ERs WHIP
2011 5 5 74.2 5.79 47 84 48 1.50
2012 1 3 16.0 7.88 17 24 14 1.88

With how bad his stats have been as a starter, there is absolutely no reason why the Yankees don’t put him in the bullpen, especially with Andy Pettitte coming back in a few weeks. Why not give David Phelps a shot. He’s proven so far that he can pitch at the big league level and should be given a chance.

What are your thoughts on Phil Hughes? Should the Yankees keep giving him the ball every 5th day, or should they give someone else (like David Phelps) a shot? Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

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About Brian Capozzi

I have been a lifelong Yankee fan ever since my father took me to my first game when I was a child. We had seats in the first row, right next to the Yankees dugout. From that moment, I was hooked. I am constantly chatting about the Yankees on Twitter, so please follow me and join in the conversation (@brian_nyyu).

  • http://www.facebook.com/madhattanzooyork Ron Ridinger

     we should trade the whole team for 2 20 game winners and put them in a 3 man rotation in  october,,,

  • kevin

    What about DJ Mitchell, he’s 24 and in his 3rd yr in Scranton. He’s pitching very good so far this season, why hasn’t he been given a shot ?

    • http://twitter.com/Brian_NYYU Brian Capozzi

      Mitchell would be a viable option too.  Look, the fact is, the Yankees have options… they can’t sit back and ‘hope’ that Hughes finds his form. He’s been given plenty of opportunities.

  • @GScott25

    I could see a Phelps, Hughes flip flop…seeing what Phelps can do as a starter.  This is only IF Girardi deems Hughes a reliever for the rest of the season – we all know they don’t like going back and forth.

    • Jamiehop_26

      I agree he belongs in the bullpen. Stats don’t lie; his numbersas a reliever are above and beyond beyond better than the numbers he’s garnished since being a starter. Why the Yankees are hell bent on keeping him a starter is beyond me. I’d like to be a fly on the wall during meetings concerning Hughes and Cash’s and Joe’s reasoning for keeping him in the rotation. Hughes, up until the past two years, as been a viable trade piece and with Andy coming back I don’t see why, unless he improves drastically regardless if he’s a starter or coming out of the pen, he can’t be a trade chip before the July 31 trade deadline. Our bullpen is stacked so moving him to the pen would take away innings from others who have established themselves as viable bullpen options. Perhaps, if Phelps is moved to the rotation, Hughes could be the long relief guy but having him throw more than two innings scares the ever living **** out of me.

  • http://ladylovespinstripes.com/ Kate Conroy

    Great article…as I agree Hughes needs to go to the bullpen. When you think about it…Hughes is dominate through 1-3 innings, give or take, and than hitters either figure him out or he starts throwing his fastball without any movement directly across the plate. That would work out of the bullpen in long relief or in a 1+ innings situation……as it did in 2009. Hughes talent was inflated in 2010, as 14 of his 17 wins were with 6+ run support, which was the most in baseball. He barely has a third pitch, and his throwing motion looks cramped, instead of extended….
    Obviously, I have been against this from the get-go and I would rather have a prospect get a shot as you never know if the Yankees have a Jeremy Lin (aka. David Phelps) being overlooked because Cashman and Girardi are dreaming of 18 wins again….well that ain’t happening and keeping Hughes in there is irresponsible.

  • Tanned Tom

    Yup, Hughes is not a starter. I’m all for giving Phelps or Mitchell a chance – and I don’t care if they suck. They can’t do much worse than Hughes and Garcia. 
    My thought is to swap Phelps and Hughes, promote Mitchell as soon as he pitches just 2 decent games back to back and trade Garcia when Andy comes back. Let Mitchell, Phelps and Hughes fight it out for 5th starter this year, then unless Hughes makes a big turnaround, trade him.

  • R Stoner

    The Yankees have all the middle relievers they need. The choice should be to get Hughes on track. His focus has always been as a starter and that is where he is most valuable. The bullpen should be a last resort. I would suggest sending him to Triple A and telling him to learn how to finish off hitters and adjust to seeing batters 3-4 times per game. When, and if, he dominates there he can come back up. In the meantime, either Phelps or Mitchell can get a chance.

    • Tanned Tom

      A career ERA of 5.00 as a starter is not my idea of valuable. This is his 5th season as a starter, let’s admit it to ourselves…this is his track, this is his norm. Juggle things until Andy comes back then trade Hughes and Garcia, and let Mitchell and Phelps fight it our for 5th starter. They can’t be any worse.

  • Kstoc

    go to a six man rotation with hughes being the sixth man.When Pettit comes aboard  put hughes inthe pen.