These are questions from the ESPN chats of Keith Law and Jim Callis last week:
Chris (NY): Crazy to say that Phil Hughes should be in the bullpen from here on out as a quality multiple innings reliever?
Keith Law: Not crazy at all.
I agree that it is not crazy, but I believe that Hughes should spend some time in the minors working on his cutter and changeup, as well as finding more consistency in regard to locating his fastball. Some have said that he has nothing to prove in the minors. While that may be true, he certainly has some things to work on, and I believe that he would be best served in an environment where he can work on those things without having to worry about winning and losing. Also, one interesting point comes up in the Callis’ chat:
Steve (NY): Is there any chance Phil Hughes will be allowed to have more than 14 sporadic starts at AAA to learn how to pitch before people decide on him?
Jim Callis: I’m with you, Steve. His stuff isn’t as crisp as it was at the end of 2006. And he has trouble staying healthy, which doesn’t help. But I still think there’s a good pitcher in there somewhere.
I was shocked when I saw that number. Phil has made 14 AAA starts spread over three seasons. This idea that he is a seasoned minor league veteran with nothing left to learn there really does not hold water. He is still not consistent enough to remain in the majors once the Yankees have five starters better than he is. I still believe that he going to be a very good major leaguer, but sticking him in the bullpen and preventing him from amassing innings is not the solution.
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