Apr 11, 2008

Hughes' velocity remix

Following are snippets from a few scouting reports on Phil Hughes (specifically on his velocity) coming up through the minors in chronological order -

January 11, 2006:
First and foremost, the Californian has a big pitcher's frame that should only add more velocity over time. Right now, his fastball consistently sits in the low 90s, but we can maybe expect two or three more ticks soon.
by the reputable Bryan Smith at Baseball Analysts.

May 4, 2006:

He was throwing 92-93 on the fastball, 82 on the change, and 75 on the curve with sliders about 80.
His fastball, though not as fast as I expected, was very live and hitters were having trouble getting around on him all night.

Then on May 17, 2006:
I saw Phil pitch vs Portland yesterday and he was hitting 95 consistently.
by Moderator 'mcmagic' at NY Yankee Fans.

May 18, 2006:
His fastball can hit 96 MPH and is consistent at 91-93, though his velocity has reportedly increased a bit this year.
by the professional John Sickels at Minor League Ball.

September 11, 2006:
I'm generally sitting between 92 and 94 (mph) with it, and I'll touch 95-96. I'm mostly going with 4-seamers, although I'll throw a few 2-seamers that are closer to 91-92.
by the man himself (courtesy of Baseball America).

December 29, 2006:
Hughes would be an effective pitcher with a 90 mph fastball. That said, Phil Hughes is going to be more than an effective pitcher. He is capable of throwing 96-97 mph, but prefers to sit comfortably at 93-94 or 94-95 on a good day in order to command it better. That said, he is capable of reaching back and throwing a located fastball at 97 if the situation commands it.
by the respected EJ Fagan at Pinstripe Potentials.

April 26, 2007:

Hughes boasts a good fastball that works comfortably in the mid-90s. His four-seamer has good movement and he’s able to locate it very well. All of Hughes’ pitching is based off his ability to locate pitches. He does that very well with his four-seamer. Hughes also throws a plus two-seam fastball that sits in the low 90s.
by Koby Schellenger at Moundtalk.

Nowhere did anyone write he'd be in the sub 90s range, but he has. His last start had him 88-92. How much does the cold weather affect his velocity? I don't know, but pitchers' velocities in general seem to increase as the temperature does.

Another question is: how often is he throwing 2-seamers vs. 4-seamers? From what I can tell, it's looked primarily like the 4-seam kind this year.

Going back to 2007, he threw one (recorded) fastball over 96 mph (96.35) and none under 88. He threw 3 fastballs under 89 and 3 above 95. That says to me his normal range was 90-94, which really is what Hughes' scouting reports said: low 90s heat. One must also bear in mind that he missed the warmest months of the season (May, June, July) and finally came back from a leg injury in August.

Only time will tell.

- As for last night's game, thank goodness for Andy Pettitte, who went 6.2 strong innings. The offense was jolted awake by none other than Melky Cabrera (2-5, HR, 2 rbi) who started the scoring with a 3rd inning homer. If you don't already know, Girardi put Arod in the three-hole, something I'm a huge fan of - unfortunately, he still kept Damon in the leadoff spot. If it was up to me, the lineup would go as such: Jeter, Abreu, Arod, Giambi (if healthy), Posada, Matsui, Cano, Melky, Damon (with Ensberg, Shelley and/or Molina taking ABs against lefties).

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