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Article: Hughes Could Be Huge For Twins

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#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.