Aug 16, 2006

Tabata & Hughes

My thoughts on the top 2 prospects.

Jose Tabata
will turn 18 in 2 weeks. I haven't seen him play outside of the Futures Game, but what I saw matched what was being said about him on various sites. He played CF, but his normal position in A ball is RF. He has a super strong arm. He did misplay a ball in center - he dove but couldn't reach a line drive. One of the commentators said he's got to learn to run, THEN stick out the glove; he was running with his arm extended. He went 1-3. The 1 was impressive, albeit scary. It was a bullet up the middle on a 94 mph fastball that almost took the head off Phil Hughes...

... who had a rough outing in the futures game. Outside of that game, I saw some video of him pitching in high school. Good fastball and devastating slider. In the futures game, he was inconsistent with his control. His fastball ranged from 92-96 (with largely good control). His curve looked great, fast with a lot of movement. I think he threw one changeup, which sailed high; it must've hurt his confidence, so he didnt throw any more. I didn't see him throw his slider (unless i confused his slider for a curve). Also, he didnt throw one fastball inside. I dont know if this is his m.o., or he didnt want to risk injuring someone in an exhibition. To succeed in the show, he has to throw inside & get a bit more control & use the offspeed stuff more. He's being kept on a 80 pitch/5 inning limit now in Trenton, to keep stress off his arm. This bothers me a little: won't he get so used to only going 5 innings, that in the Bronx he'll subsconsciously throw his arm out for 5, not saving anything more. I know it's to prevent injury, but I just feel he'll be in for a rude awakening when he's asked to go 7 in the bigs. Of course, when he first comes up, the Yanks might limit his innings too, gradually increasing them.

Despite his outing, he's still #3 among all MLB prospects, the #1 pitcher. Tabata is #17. I'm very glad cashman held on to them. Hughes could be in the show next year sometime, and tabata likely 2008-9. If Hughes reaches his potential, he'll be an ace for 15 years.

Tabata has been injured on & off this year, and he's currently out with what seems to be a hand injury. He's supposed to be back in the lineup this week.

Monday July 31, 2006 - 06:15pm (EDT)

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