Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The Messiah

A nice quick read on Phil Phranchise by Kevin Kernan in today's NY Post.

The Yankees have their version of the Three Amigos in Hughes, Joba Chamberlain and Ian Kennedy, but read what Johnny Damon said about Hughes after yesterday's performance.

"Phil is definitely the cream of the crop," Damon said. "I see ace material written all over him. He's got two plus pitches. I think he's going to have a big year."

With all of the (deserved) hype surrounding the larger than life Joba (The Beast), it sometimes gets lost that Hughes has been the Yanks' top prospect, and a top 10 prospect in all of baseball for 3 years.

I know I'm repeating myself from earlier posts, but of our troika I believe that Phil is by far the most likely to live up to 'Ace' billing.

Consider his minor league numbers:

From 2004 through 2007 Hughes pitched in 54 games throwing 275 minor league innings
He allowed 171 hits - an ungodly 5.59 hits per 9 innings pitched
He struck out 311 batters - 10.18 per 9 innings pitched
He gave up 66 walks - 2.16 BB/9 and 4.71 strikeouts for every walk
He gave up a TOTAL of 6 HR in 275 ip
His career minor league ERA is 2.09, with no year higher than 3.06
His career minor league WHIP is 0.86 with no year above 1.00

Absolutely filthy!

A 4.46 ERA with the Yanks does not tell an accurate story about Phil's 2007. Consider that he allowed only 64 hits in 72 2/3 innings, he allowed only a .235 BAA for the year, and that in September (after fully recovering from hammy/ankle injury) he was the Yanks' best starter going 3-0 in 29 2/3 innings posting a 2.73 ERA .

Joba is nasty. The 100 MPH fastball, 0.38 ERA out of the 'pen and larger than life personality has seemingly put him 1st on the troika depth chart. I happen to believe that Joba is also headed for greatness. But remember - Joba has faced a total of 437 batters in his professional career. He has made exactly zero major league starts. And even though his 13.81 K/9 betters Phil, none of his other minor league numbers are as good as Hughes' (2.45 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 6.34 H/9).

Now please, make no mistake - I think between Phil, Joba and Ikky we have a chance to have a big 3 better than any in history. It may be that Joba passes Phil and ends up having a better career. Right now for the 2007 season, however, there should be little doubt that Phil Phranchise, The Messiah is king among the troika.

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