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Hughes' Season

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#1 stringer bell

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 04:48 AM

When Phil Hughes signed with the Twins, I thought he might do a good job in the middle of the rotation. He has long been known as a fly ball pitcher and Target Field's deep power alleys were likely to turn some long drives into outs and doubles instead of home runs.

I think he has exceeded almost everyone's expectations. I looked at his rankings in the "pitching triple crown" and was surprised to see that he was tied for first in wins in the AL. Given that the Twins are double digits under .500, that is an admirable achievement. Further, Hughes has 148 strikeouts (10th in AL) and has an fair chance to get to 200. I believe Liriano made it to 200 in 2010, but who was the last right hander to get to or exceed 200 Ks in a season?

Hughes' ERA of 3.65 ranks 27th, nothing to write home about, but given the poor range of several of the players in the field behind him, I think even that number is a real positive surprise.

The future for Hughes is pretty bright, given his age and health. Can we imagine how disappointing this season would be if Hughes and Suzuki weren't picked up this past off season?

#2 Thegrin

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 05:18 AM

When Hughes pitches, wins are expected and losses are a surprise.  That is a good kind of pitcher to have in the rotations.  :)

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#3 SweetOne69

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 06:27 AM

When Phil Hughes signed with the Twins, I thought he might do a good job in the middle of the rotation. He has long been known as a fly ball pitcher and Target Field's deep power alleys were likely to turn some long drives into outs and doubles instead of home runs.

I think he has exceeded almost everyone's expectations. I looked at his rankings in the "pitching triple crown" and was surprised to see that he was tied for first in wins in the AL. Given that the Twins are double digits under .500, that is an admirable achievement. Further, Hughes has 148 strikeouts (10th in AL) and has an fair chance to get to 200. I believe Liriano made it to 200 in 2010, but who was the last right hander to get to or exceed 200 Ks in a season?

Hughes' ERA of 3.65 ranks 27th, nothing to write home about, but given the poor range of several of the players in the field behind him, I think even that number is a real positive surprise.

The future for Hughes is pretty bright, given his age and health. Can we imagine how disappointing this season would be if Hughes and Suzuki weren't picked up this past off season?

 

While Hughes has had an excellent season, unfortunately he has very little chance to get 200 Strikeouts.

 

There are 36 games left which means that Hughes will have 5 mores starts.  He needs to average 7.5K's per outing to hit 200.  So far this season he has only SO more that 7 in a game 5 times.  My guess is that he will finish with 180-190 K's.


#4 Kirby_waved_at_me

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 06:32 AM

Where would the Twins be - probably still last place in the AL Central...

 

That was a little tongue-in-cheek, I think Hughes gives the Twins the closest thing they've had to an Ace since Santana left.

 

I think he might get 6 or even 7 more starts, assuming he goes every 5th game. 36 / 5 is 7.2 - I'd still think 175-190 is a more likely total for his season.


#5 TKGuy

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 07:00 AM

He has been more than I expected and I am sure the Yankees were wondering where that was.  However, sometimes a change of scenery does make a difference.  Although, I suppose a person could give Rick Anderson and the staff credit for getting Hughes to this point and stop harping about Worley, because he is turning back into the Worley we knew and didn't love anyways, but we know that won't happen on this board :)


#6 Kirby_waved_at_me

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 07:04 AM

The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind. The answer is blowin' in the wind.


#7 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 07:08 AM

While Hughes has had an excellent season, unfortunately he has very little chance to get 200 Strikeouts.

 

There are 36 games left which means that Hughes will have 5 mores starts.  He needs to average 7.5K's per outing to hit 200.  So far this season he has only SO more that 7 in a game 5 times.  My guess is that he will finish with 180-190 K's.

 

Am I missing something? 36 / 5 = 7.2. Hughes should have at least six starts left this season, though you're right that it will be difficult to reach 200 Ks.


#8 Kirby_waved_at_me

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 07:17 AM

who was the last right hander to get to or exceed 200 Ks in a season?

 

 

Bert Blyleven in 1986 was the last Twins' RHP to get more than 200 Ks in one season.

 

Bert, Dean Chance, Camilo Pascual, Dave Boswell, and Walter Johnson (if you include the Senators) are the only RHP in Twins history to get more than 200 Ks in a year.

 

Jim Kaat, Johan, and Liriano are the only LHP to do it.

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#9 Kirby_waved_at_me

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 07:23 AM

Am I missing something? 36 / 5 = 7.2. Hughes should have at least six starts left this season, though you're right that it will be difficult to reach 200 Ks.

 

Hughes would need to average 7.5 Ks over 7 starts to get 200.5 Ks. 148 currently, 52 to go would be 7 X 7.42. 

if he gets 6 starts, he'll need to average 8.7 Ks

if he gets 5 starts, he'll need to average 10.4 Ks

 

For the season he's averaging 5.6 Ks per start, so not very likely, but he's going to be closer than most Twins' pitchers have been.


#10 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 07:28 AM

Ah, so it was a typo. Good catch. His numbers per start were correct.


#11 JB_Iowa

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 07:33 AM

Andrew Walter ‏@MNfanfromafar  · 14h 
FWIW, @fangraphs has Phil Hughes' 2014 value at $25.9 million w/ a month to go. His 3 year contract pays $24M total.

 

 

Pretty. Good. Value.

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#12 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 07:36 AM

Andrew Walter ‏@MNfanfromafar  · 14h 
FWIW, @fangraphs has Phil Hughes' 2014 value at $25.9 million w/ a month to go. His 3 year contract pays $24M total.

 

 

Pretty. Good. Value.

 

If Hughes can stay healthy and productive, he's going to be entering free agency again at age 30.

 

He has a shot at getting a $80-100m contract. So weird to think about. It seems like the guy has been in the league for 15 years.


#13 Kirby_waved_at_me

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 07:40 AM

The first time the Twins were rumored to be trying to acquire Hughes was back when they were looking for a trade partner for Santana - wasn't a Hughes / Melky / Ian Kennedy package mentioned? That does seem like a lifetime ago.

 

It would be interesting if the Twins do manage to go after Cabrera in the offseason and end up with 2 of the guys they might have acquired for Johan so long ago. 


#14 Monkeypaws

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 07:54 AM

The first time the Twins were rumored to be trying to acquire Hughes was back when they were looking for a trade partner for Santana - wasn't a Hughes / Melky / Ian Kennedy package mentioned? That does seem like a lifetime ago.

 

It would be interesting if the Twins do manage to go after Cabrera in the offseason and end up with 2 of the guys they might have acquired for Johan so long ago. 

I had that same thought. Funny old game this baseball. They should go after Kennedy too and complete the troika.


#15 spanman2

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 08:12 AM

The Twins have to be very pleased at the numbers Hughes has put up this year.  One would think they (players) believe that they have a chance to win every time he takes the mound.  If Gibson can get off the what seems to be every other start has a chance at being a clunker train we have 2 solid starters for next year.  I personally think Milone can be a 3rd solid starter next year.  I am at a loss of words for how disappointing Nolasco has been this year and we have to hope he gets it turned around.  If the organization isnt dead red set on Milone as a guranteed starter going into next season I would go into next year with 2 locked in starters and 3 open for competition. 

I WAS TOLD I WOULD NEVER MAKE IT BECAUSE I AM TOO SHORT. WELL, I'M STILL TOO SHORT. IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT YOUR HEIGHT IS. IT'S WHAT'S IN YOUR HEART.

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#16 mike wants wins

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 08:14 AM

Andrew Walter ‏@MNfanfromafar  · 14h 
FWIW, @fangraphs has Phil Hughes' 2014 value at $25.9 million w/ a month to go. His 3 year contract pays $24M total.

 

 

Pretty. Good. Value.

 

Given how people here feel about WAR, not sure how they feel about this analysis......since, it is based on WAR and value of a win.....

What I just typed is probably an opinion, not a fact. I mean, I'm usually right, so you should maybe assume it is or will be a fact soon, but that's up to you. :)


#17 mike wants wins

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 08:15 AM

I liked the signing, and like it even more now. he's been very good.

What I just typed is probably an opinion, not a fact. I mean, I'm usually right, so you should maybe assume it is or will be a fact soon, but that's up to you. :)


#18 Willihammer

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 08:26 AM

Kinda funny - everyone expected TF to solve Hughes' woes but he's actually done a little better on the road.

#19 JB_Iowa

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 08:39 AM

Given how people here feel about WAR, not sure how they feel about this analysis......since, it is based on WAR and value of a win.....

 

The thing is, that you could cut it in 1/2 and he'd still be a pretty good pick-up.

 

The accuracy of the actual numbers don't mean that much -- it is all just saying that this was a good signing.


#20 SweetOne69

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 09:36 AM

Am I missing something? 36 / 5 = 7.2. Hughes should have at least six starts left this season, though you're right that it will be difficult to reach 200 Ks.

 

You are correct, I had it correct the first time and confused myself and changed it.  With the DH on Saturday, there are 35 game days left (since they are bringing up a special pitcher for game 1), Which means that he should get 7 starts especially since Gardy doesn't typically skip guys when there is an off day.

 

But the rest of my math is correct.


#21 spycake

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 09:42 AM

Hughes has been pretty awesome.  And even though everyone on this board wanted him and loved the contract, credit to the Twins for making it happen and actually getting good results from him almost immediately. 

 

Still, he's only at a 108 ERA+ -- he has previously put up 103 and 101 figures with NY (albeit with slightly lower IP/GS too).  The key for him will be, can he repeat this next year?  Especially with that crazy low 0.8 BB/9, that might prove difficult for a career 2.8 BB/9 guy to sustain over a long period.

 

Anyway, great to see a borderline ace again on the Twins, at least for the time being.  Would love for someone to join him, or even best him as a Radke-level ace...


#22 Kirby_waved_at_me

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 09:50 AM

Yes, can he repeat it next year? That's the burning question for all of the Twins' bright spots. Who is going to regress (*cough Kurt Suzuki *cough) and who is going to get better / maintain their 2014 success?

 

My Spring Training Optimist thinks that Gibson have more good/great starts than clunkers next year, and be the Good #2 / #3 starter behind Hughes. 

 

I still am really hoping for the Twins to take a shot at adding another front end starter to the rotation as well(though it would fly in the face of logic and past history).


#23 spycake

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 09:53 AM

If Hughes can stay healthy and productive, he's going to be entering free agency again at age 30.

 

He has a shot at getting a $80-100m contract. So weird to think about. It seems like the guy has been in the league for 15 years.

I don't know about $80-100m.  He'd have to step up his game over the next couple years to see that at age 30.  Right now, he's just moving into the ~4/50 group from last offseason (maybe he's taking Nolasco's spot in that group :) or Ubaldo Jimenez's spot).

 

Seemed weird that he didn't sign a 1-year deal this past offseason, he would almost certainly get 4/50 this offseason, right?  Or thanks to his age, something more like's Garza's 5/65 including options.  He already had $15 mil in career earnings, would have certainly had $23 mil after 2014 either way... not sure why he wanted to lock in only the next $16 mil at the same time.


#24 BMCACCAL

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 09:54 AM

Great season for Hughes. Maybe he can be the #2 starter we need.  Who knows, maybe Gibson can be the solid #3, Nolasco a #4 and Milone/May a #5 next year.  Through in a FA like Shields to pitch #1 (I know he's not really a #1, but the closest thing out there that we could get) and we might have a competitive rotation next year.

 

The problem with that scenario is that it wouldn't leave any room for 2 of the 3 young guys.  It's more likely that we add 2 of the 3 May/Meyer/Milone group to the rotation and struggle again, at least for one more year while we hope that one of the young guys becomes a #1. I think that's the way to go since we will struggle offensively again while trying to develop Arcia, Vargas, Santana, Hicks and someone else to play center (Schafer?).  


#25 spycake

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 09:59 AM

The future for Hughes is pretty bright, given his age and health. Can we imagine how disappointing this season would be if Hughes and Suzuki weren't picked up this past off season?

Love me some 2014 vintage Suzuki, but in my mind he takes a clear back seat to Hughes in this regard.  Not only is Hughes performing well, by some measures he is actually underperforming his peripherals, compared to Suzuki who is almost universally over-performing them.

 

Add to it there is a good chance we would have had a ~100 OPS+ catcher anyway.  There was no realistic way we were getting a #22 ranking pitcher rWAR season in 2014 from anyone else.


#26 kab21

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Posted 23 August 2014 - 06:51 PM

It's strange that extensions have been talked about with all kinds of Twins where it didn't really matter.  Suzuki (whatever), Dozier (in arb for 4 more years or something), Willy (whatever) and even Arcia.  But never Hughes. 

 

FWIW - Hughes WAR is being calculated based on a 2.61 FIP.  The expectation from fangraphs is that FIP is a more accurate projection than ERA.  He has been unlucky with stranding runners this year and FIP takes that bad luck out of the calculation but leaves in his lucky (6%) HR/FB rate.  He's been good but nobody is going to expect a 2.61 ERA out of him in the future.

 

Still it's not that crazy to think that he could get 80M in a couple of years if he does what he did this year 3.50ish ERA.

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I look forward to the day that a pitching prospect is truly blocked by good pitchers.


#27 SpiritofVodkaDave

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Posted 23 August 2014 - 07:49 PM

Hughes has been great, his results have been very good and his advanced metrics actually tell us he is pitching close to a "legit" ace type.

Not sure how willing Hughes would be to listen, but if I were Terry Ryan I would seriously consider approaching him with an extension. Maybe tack on 3 years to the current deal at 14-16 mil each season?

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#28 Willihammer

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Posted 23 August 2014 - 10:16 PM

Will Hughes continue to walk 2% of runners? Will his HR/FB rate stay where it is? I'd wager no on both. Not that extending him is a bad idea but doing it now seems like the definition of buying high.


#29 stringer bell

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Posted 23 August 2014 - 10:26 PM

Will Hughes continue to walk 2% of runners? Will his HR/FB rate stay where it is? I'd wager no on both. Not that extending him is a bad idea but doing it now seems like the definition of buying high.

That would be a decision to be made next off-season. We shall see if some of Hughes' stats regress and by how much.
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#30 kab21

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 12:52 AM

Will Hughes continue to walk 2% of runners? Will his HR/FB rate stay where it is? I'd wager no on both. Not that extending him is a bad idea but doing it now seems like the definition of buying high.

 

And right now Hughes knows that he is just a season removed from a 5ERA and getting kicked out of the rotation.  There's still a discount available.  The important thing here is that the rebuilding is targeted to last longer than the next 2 seasons and the Twins don't want to be filling another hole in their rotation in 2 years.  There are some decent prospects in the minors but he needs to be locked up.

 

Of course he's not going to keep walking 2% of runners.  Chances are that he doesn't keep allowing 30% of the runners on base to score either.  Right now he has a few lucky/unlucky metrics in his stats and they probably cancel out.  I don't think it would be shocking if he was a 3.50 ERA pitcher for the next few seasons.  Extending him for 12-15M for 3 more seasons would be brilliant. 

I look forward to the day that a pitching prospect is truly blocked by good pitchers.




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