Tuesday, August 20, 2013

A Doubleheader Of Divergent Career Paths

If you're looking for a quick visual representation of the Yankees' organizational struggles when it comes to developing starting pitching, look no further than the 2 guys starting today's doubleheader.

Ivan Nova was an undervalued international signing.  He's been a low-ceiling starter prospect, better than advertised Major Leaguer, Game 1 postseason starter, back end rotation fodder, human batting cage pitching machine, Minor League reclamation project, extra pitching staff depth, and injury question mark all in the span of 2 years.  Currently he's the second best starter in the 2013 rotation and has gotten his career back on track with the transition to an exclusive fastball/curveball approach.

Phil Hughes was a can't miss, #1, mega-hyped American prospect, expected to be the future ace of the staff once the Core Four era was over.  He's pitched brilliantly at times, he's pitched inconceivably bad at times, and his career has been defined by his inability to consistently do the most basic things on a pitching mound that a pitcher needs to do to be successful.  He's been the worst starter in the rotation by far this season and as he heads towards the possible final weeks of his Yankee career he's watching his free agent value deteriorate with every bad pitch.

These are the best the Yankee system has generated in the last 5-7 years, and that's not saying much.  Things look brighter for Nova now than Hughes, but based on his track record there's no way to know how long this stretch of effectiveness will last and if it will carry over into next year.  We'll get another look at both of them today and another look at what could have been and what may still be.

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