Jan 29, 2007

BP's Yankee prospect list (finally)

Here's their take on Yankee prospects. #1 is some guy name Hughes:

The Good: The total package, making him the best pitching prospect in the game. His 92-96 mph fastball has good movement to go along with outstanding location, and his hard curveball gives him a second major-league-quality out pitch. His change-up is at least average, and has nice fade and deception. His size is ideal and his mechanics are nearly flawless.
The Bad: 2006 was Hughes' first season with no health problems, and he was treated with kid gloves at the end of the season. He's yet to prove that he can hold up under a full-season workload, although he was as dominant as ever at the end of the year.
The Irrelevant: In the first inning of games, opposing hitters facing Hughes hit .125 (11-for-88) with 34 strikeouts.
In A Perfect World, He Becomes: An absolute ace--a legitimate No. 1 on any team.
Gap Between What He Is Now, And What He Can Be: Low – The Yankees insist that they want Hughes to begin the year in Triple-A, but if he's lights-out in spring training, it will be hard to send him down. No matter what happens in March, he should be up before the All-Star break.
As I was reading this a thought occurred to me. What was it? I'm glad you asked. Well, Phil Hughes is considered by most the top pitching prospect in baseball (occassionally getting edged by Cincinnati's Homer Bailey), and I thought, 'What year did the Yanks draft Hughes?' I looked it up: 2004. Then I remembered that was the draft after Andy Pettitte was lost to Houston via free agency. Since the Yanks offered arbitration to Pettitte (something that should have been done with the 'retiring' Clemens), and he was a type A free agent, they received Houston's 1st round pick (#23) in the amateur draft (it was also the Yanks only 1st round pick that year). You can guess who that pick was used for: one Mr. Hughes.

Now the strange part. Andy Pettitte has rejoined the Yankees, and quite possibly will be teammates with Hughes sometime this season. So a pitcher the Yanks lost, and the pitcher they gained because of it will both be pitching for the Yanks this season. Life is funny...

Of course, the question is: would you have let Pettitte walk knowing how good the compensation would be? It's impossible to say right now, since Hughes hasn't throw a single ML pitch, but he's basically a 'can't-miss' prospect, who should be at worst a #3 starter in MLB for years to come. He's one of only four 'uber-prospects' currently in baseball. So at this point, I'd have to say yes. Hughes could join the Yanks and stink (knock on wood), but the odds are well against it. Most Yankee fans were upset when Pettitte left, but with the imminent arrival of a phenom, and the 're-arrival' of Pettitte, things are looking good in Yankee-land.

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