Dave Allen (FanGraphs) has a nice writeup on Phil Hughes’ transition from the rotation to the ‘pen. Here’s Allen’s final take on Hughes’ future:
Phil Hughes will be the Yankee’s 8th inning man for his year and the playoffs, but next year it will be interesting to see what they do. Using the FanGraphs WAR valuation an elite reliever is worth about the same as a just slightly above average starter (this year Joe Nathan is worth about as much as Tim Wakefield and Mariano Rivera is worth the same as Gil Meche). So the Yankees would have to think the difference in his performance as a starter and reliever is much larger than that of the average stater to justify keeping him in the pen next year.
Essentially, Allen seems to indicate that Hughes would have to be an above average starter—albeit barely—in order to be given a rotation spot, since his value as an elite reliever is already as much as a Tim Wakefield or a Gil Meche. If that’s the case, do the Yankees think that they still have that with Phil Hughes? Do they think he can be an above average starter and possibly more? I certainly think they do. Furthermore, Hughes will be better than any combination of Sergio Mitre or Chad Gaudin, so that comes into play since next year’s rotation looks like it’ll start off being CC, A.J, Joba and Andy (he’ll be back barring injury).
What do you think? After the endless Joba debate, are we going to have a Hughes debate, too?
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