The very first post I ever did on this blog, back in Feb. of 2006, was about Phil Hughes throwing in a spring training intrasquad game:
“But the buzz afterward was about 19-year-old right-hander Phil Hughes. He threw two perfect innings, striking out one. The former first-round pick has impressed everybody in camp. Jorge Posada sounded like his agent, predicting that the kid would be in the big leagues soon and comparing him to a young Andy Pettitte. Joe Torre was more reasonable, saying only that Hughes has nice jump on his fastball, a tight curveball and acts like he belongs. “You just never know until you see them a little while,” Torre said.
Hughes turns 23 today. He has pitched in 34 big-league games over three seasons and is 8-9 with a 4.97 ERA. His promise has not yet been fulfilled.
But what we thought in 2006 hasn’t changed: Hughes will be a very good, No. 2 or No. 3 starter in the majors and be successful for a long time. As long as he can stay healthy, he has the arm and the makeup to be a terrific pitcher.
While I understand he’s in the bullpen now out of circumstance, the Yankees should not lose sight of his potential as a starter. This is not just another guy.