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Article: Hughes Could Be Huge For Twins

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#1 Nick Nelson

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Posted 19 March 2014 - 12:31 PM

You can view the page at http://www.twinsdail...-Huge-For-Twins

#2 tobi0040

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Posted 19 March 2014 - 01:20 PM

You can view the page at http://www.twinsdail...-Huge-For-Twins


This was my favorite signing as well.

Scott Feldman is 30, has a 4.62 ERA, signed for 3/30.

Jason Vargas is 31, has a 4.30 ERA, signed for 4/32.

To me your 4-5th free agent starters are making about what Hughes is. But he has #2 or easily #3 upside in my eyes. Career 4.54 ERA.

His split between the new Yankee stadium and everwhere else:

New Yankee stadium (home 2009 and on) - 350 IP, 4.91 ERA.
Everwhere else - 430 IP, 4.24 ERA.

I am guessing his struggles at the new Yankee stadium hurt him on the road to an extent (confidence). So I think we could see an improvement on the 4.24 ERA. Not to mention Target Field should be a great place for him (hard to hit HR's and he is tough on righties).

#3 JB_Iowa

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Posted 19 March 2014 - 01:32 PM

Thanks for the article, Nick.

I think we all felt like we knew what to expect from Nolasco -- someone who would come in and eat inning and provide some leadership and stability to the pitching staff. A solid #2 serving as a #1 with this team. And so far, the signs are good with him, too.

But Hughes was (and is) always more of a question mark. It is good to see him starting off "on the right foot" and his potential upside always made it seem like his contract could be a bargain. The key for him (seemingly) is to trust in himself and not to keep tinkering and adjusting so much that he gets everything totally out of whack.

We have yet to see how that will play out but I'd much rather see him starting well from the beginning than have to rediscover himself as ST goes along.

#4 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 19 March 2014 - 01:48 PM

When the Twins signed Nolasco, I was very happy. When the Twins signed Hughes, I was ecstatic.

He's the type of signing the Twins have badly needed for years. Young, big upside, currently on a down note from possible mechanical and mental issues from pitching in NYC and Yankee Stadium.

Hughes is my bet to end the 2014 as the team "ace", putting up Scott Baker type numbers.

#5 zchrz

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Posted 19 March 2014 - 01:57 PM

I have high hopes for Hughes. Yankee stadium was a terrible park for him to play in, and it can't have been easy to be a "failed" top prospect in that media circus. Lets see what he can do with reduced pressure and spacious confines behind him.

#6 stringer bell

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Posted 19 March 2014 - 02:09 PM

As Hughes tired a bit, the O hitters were elevating more balls, but he was definitely too tough for most of their hitters. Hughes throws hard, the curveball looked good yesterday, and he even threw a few cut fastballs. I listened to the minor league players not in uniform watching and they were impressed with Hughes stuff and his contract.

#7 Halsey Hall

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Posted 19 March 2014 - 02:16 PM

You most likely stepped on my foot.

#8 Dman

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Posted 19 March 2014 - 02:21 PM

Although I liked the signing I wasn't a huge Hughes fan. I kind of felt that despite the stats showing otherwise that maybe he had plateaued as a pitcher. Thought he might be a head case and not do that well even out of Yankee stadium.

From what I have seen from him this spring it looks like he is going to prove me wrong. I hope he has a great year. The fans need it.

#9 ScottyB

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Posted 19 March 2014 - 02:31 PM

I hope he has great success and we extend him beyond the three years. I would love to have a starting rotation in four years of Hughes, Meyer, Gibson, Stewart and one of our other young guns.

#10 strumdatjag

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Posted 19 March 2014 - 02:55 PM

Remember Pavano was run out of New York as a failure and then succeeded here. Hopefully the Twins can do it again with Hughes!!!!

#11 Dantes929

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Posted 19 March 2014 - 03:10 PM

Just my prediction but the staff at the end of the year in terms of results 1. Meyer, 2. Hughes, 3. Pelfrey 4. Gibson 5. Norasco. Its really not so bad considering Deduno could be switched with any one of these and Correia could possible switch with one of the last 3. So there is a little depth there. Last year at this time I felt pretty good about Worley, not so great about Pelfrey because of surgery, ok but not excited about Diamond, less certain about Deduno and much less certain about Gibson. Pitching should be significantly better. Offense should be better just by young guys maturing or having more experience. Still not a good offense until we get some young guys up here but Hicks and Arcia should have much better years, Mauer should play more and room for improvement from Colabello and Dozier. Hoping Santana earns a promotion. They should be better than last year which means win a few more games and make more games close.

#12 Monkeypaws

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Posted 19 March 2014 - 03:28 PM

Remember Pavano was run out of New York as a failure and then succeeded here. Hopefully the Twins can do it again with Hughes!!!!


I was just going to post the same thing. :roll:

#13 zchrz

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Posted 19 March 2014 - 03:37 PM

Remember Pavano was run out of New York as a failure and then succeeded here. Hopefully the Twins can do it again with Hughes!!!!


And both added facial hair during the move! Hughes must keep the beard!
"Professionalism - When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - Hunter S Thompson

#14 Old Twins Cap

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Posted 19 March 2014 - 04:50 PM

I've watched Hughes pitch a lot over the last years on MLB. When he plays the good teams on the East Coast, he's tough for a couple of innings but they really know how to make him work. His fast ball is ok, but it's straight and teams like the Red Sox and Orioles and Tampa Bay, they foul off his fast ball time after time until they get something to handle. I like the look of his curve this spring, and that will help, but I'm not sure how you get around a fat fastball that teams are sitting on.

#15 Jim H

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Posted 19 March 2014 - 05:25 PM

I haven't been that excited about the Hughes signing. What I think is that he is at best, a mid rotation starter who hasn't been that good for several years. I didn't think it was a particularly good sign that a 5 year big league veteran was trying to figure out his breaking ball this spring. I like the fact he has pitched well this spring, and I really hope he has turned a corner, figured it out, has put New York behind him, or whatever it is he needed to do. Because, he does have some talent and if he can finally pitch to that talent, the Twins will benefit greatly.

At this point, I will watch with interest what he does with his first 5 starts when the season starts. I think for a guy who has struggled for several years, getting off to a good start will be quite important. It is way too early to get excited about how he is pitching nowgood or bad. Still,if he turns out to be decent or better, it will be a very good thing.

Edited by Jim H, 19 March 2014 - 05:30 PM.


#16 Parker Hageman

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Posted 19 March 2014 - 10:07 PM

You can tell by watching him that he attacks and looks for the punch-out, especially with two strikes.


That's in interesting statement. Since 2009, Hughes has thrown a very high percentage of fastballs in 1-2 and 0-2 counts -- 56.3% of the time compared to the 43% fastball average in those counts. If he is tossing up a curve more frequently in camp and planning on doing so moving forward, there are good odds he could see his strikeout total increase.

#17 Shane Wahl

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Posted 19 March 2014 - 11:51 PM

The Hughes signing made the Nolasco signing look better (in terms of overall spending). I am excited to see him pitch for the Twins.

#18 Guest_USAFChief_*

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Posted 20 March 2014 - 06:57 AM

I was, and remain very skeptical of Hughes, but fervently hope to be very wrong.

#19 ChiTownTwinsFan

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Posted 20 March 2014 - 07:48 AM

I was, and remain very skeptical of Hughes, but fervently hope to be very wrong.

So do we all.
When life gives you lemons, suck on them and persevere.

#20 spycake

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Posted 20 March 2014 - 07:51 AM

I was, and remain very skeptical of Hughes, but fervently hope to be very wrong.


Yeah. One key thing to remember is: he was pretty bad last year, and in 2011. Even just rebounding to 2010/2012 numbers for him will be a big achievement, and that's ~100 ERA+ territory, a 3/4 starter on a good team.

Projecting him to surpass those numbers and become a top of the rotation guy is pretty wild, at this point. Those guys usually don't sign FA deals for 3/24.

#21 tobi0040

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Posted 20 March 2014 - 08:22 AM

Yeah. One key thing to remember is: he was pretty bad last year, and in 2011. Even just rebounding to 2010/2012 numbers for him will be a big achievement, and that's ~100 ERA+ territory, a 3/4 starter on a good team.

Projecting him to surpass those numbers and become a top of the rotation guy is pretty wild, at this point. Those guys usually don't sign FA deals for 3/24.


His career ERA on the road plus the old yankee stadium is 4.24. I would argue a 27 year old with a career 4.24 ERA typically gets more than 3/24. Plus, he has the former top prospect label.

His 3/24 deal looks pretty similar to what a 30 year old with a 4.54 ERA would get (his career ERA). So when you factor in we get age, a better park, and a 4.24 ERA guy I think this is going to be good get for us.

#22 jmlease1

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Posted 20 March 2014 - 08:37 AM

If we couldn't get one of the top starters on the market, Phil Hughes was my number 1 target out of the next batch. I always wanted him, and I was ecstatic when we got a 3 year deal on him at this price. Frankly, I was worried that we'd only get him on a 1 year reclamation deal and his price would double after he had a bounce-back season pitching a) away from Yankee Stadium and B) pitching in Target Field.

I think he's going to have a very solid year for the team and be a really nice addition to the rotation as the young guys develop. I'm really hoping Cuellar can work on an effective change up with Hughes; a 3rd pitch in the arsenal (I'm not thrilled with his slider, and was happy to see him go back to the big curve that worked for him earlier in his career) is going to help stop players from keying on that fastball.

#23 UCLA_YANKEE_COLA

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Posted 20 March 2014 - 08:59 AM

Like everyone, I have high hopes. I think the return of the curve is a good sign and the move from Yankeee Stadium to Target Field could help tremendously. But I love the signing whether it works out or not. It's the kind of gamble I'm happy to see the Twins make. A potentially high impact starter on a team that hasn't had more than 2 or 3 high impact starters in the last 15 or 20 years. If he works out and we can catch a break with Gibson & Meyer we could have 3 or 4 non-embarrassing starters by the end of the season.

#24 spycake

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Posted 20 March 2014 - 09:14 AM

His career ERA on the road plus the old yankee stadium is 4.24. I would argue a 27 year old with a career 4.24 ERA typically gets more than 3/24. Plus, he has the former top prospect label.

His 3/24 deal looks pretty similar to what a 30 year old with a 4.54 ERA would get (his career ERA). So when you factor in we get age, a better park, and a 4.24 ERA guy I think this is going to be good get for us.


My argument wasn't that Hughes wasn't worth 3/24. It's that top of the rotation potential rarely accepts such a deal on the FA market. Looking at his overall career ERA+, he slots in around Pelfrey and Vargas. And he just about split the difference between those two, contract-wise. That's probably where his expected performance should be too, with a plus (or more accurately, not a minus) for not yet being decline-phase age.

For me, his home/road splits and age simply suggest that he should be able to rebound from 2013, rather than achieve any new level of overall performance. If he really was a top of the rotation gem hidden only by simple home/road splits, I still think he either signs for more than 3/24 or signs a shorter deal to hit the market again sooner.

#25 spycake

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Posted 20 March 2014 - 09:23 AM

Generally, 27 year olds (entering age 28 season) don't hit free agency that often. If you're in MLB full time by age 22, and you're still in MLB at age 27, you're usually good enough to get a contract extension beyond that, unless you have injury issues.

Edwin Jackson was the same age after 2011, and signed a one-year deal with Washington before getting his big Cubs contract.

Gil Meche might be a best case scenario for Hughes, results-wise. Same age entering FA, same career ERA+ (although Hughes had the benefit of pitching some in relief), similar in-season durability questions (relatively low IP and IP/GS). Meche, as we all know, got 5/55 in what was considered a big overpay by the Royals at the time, but he actually had two seasons averaging 213 IP and 116 ERA+ before he got injured (and eventually retired, graciously saving the Royals some of that cash!).

Pavano originally hit FA just one year later than Hughes but was coming off a career year. Sanchez and Greinke were just one year older too, but a different class of a pitcher from all of these guys.

Hughes is definitely an interesting case, and should be fun to watch.

#26 tobi0040

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Posted 20 March 2014 - 09:47 AM

Generally, 27 year olds (entering age 28 season) don't hit free agency that often. If you're in MLB full time by age 22, and you're still in MLB at age 27, you're usually good enough to get a contract extension beyond that, unless you have injury issues.

Edwin Jackson was the same age after 2011, and signed a one-year deal with Washington before getting his big Cubs contract.

Gil Meche might be a best case scenario for Hughes, results-wise. Same age entering FA, same career ERA+ (although Hughes had the benefit of pitching some in relief), similar in-season durability questions (relatively low IP and IP/GS). Meche, as we all know, got 5/55 in what was considered a big overpay by the Royals at the time, but he actually had two seasons averaging 213 IP and 116 ERA+ before he got injured (and eventually retired, graciously saving the Royals some of that cash!).

Pavano originally hit FA just one year later than Hughes but was coming off a career year. Sanchez and Greinke were just one year older too, but a different class of a pitcher from all of these guys.

Hughes is definitely an interesting case, and should be fun to watch.



I like the Meche circa 2007 and 2008 comp. I think similar results are possible for Hughes (3.67 and 3.98 ERA). Initially hearing Meche made me cringe, because outside of those two years his career ERA is around 5.00. I think Hughes stays in that range or slightly higher.

#27 ashburyjohn

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Posted 20 March 2014 - 10:03 AM

we could have 3 or 4 non-embarrassing starters by the end of the season.


Woah, a guy can dream I guess, but let's not get all starry-eyed with the optimism. :)

#28 cmathewson

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Posted 21 March 2014 - 05:42 AM

I think the key to everything with him is ditching the slider and resurrecting the curve, as Parker hinted. With two strikes, you have to go to the out pitch. That was not the slider. It could be the curve, if he drops it on the back corner of home plate, to paraphrase Bert.

Lots of people have compared him to Baker. I think their fastballs are similar, though Hughes throws a little harder. When Baker had his best years, he threw that spiked curve as an out pitch off of the four seem fastball. When he struggled, it was in trying to be a sinker/slider pitcher, per Rick Anderson.

It's interesting that it was Anderson who suggested ditching the slider in favor of the curve and sticking with the four seemer.

#29 Jim H

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Posted 21 March 2014 - 07:53 PM

I think Hughes throws a lot harder than Baker. I don't know that is the problem though. Hughes fastball doesn't seem to have a lot of movement, he will have to have at least one, preferably 2 secondary pitches that are effective. Since he never has really managed to do that at the major league level, that is probably the key for him. Since he is still tinkering around to find them in his 6th year in the majors, well it is a concern.