Thursday, February 7, 2013

2012 Statistical Trends: Phil Hughes' HR Allowed

(Courtesy of Charles Wenzelberg/NY Post)

Since he first broke into the Majors in 2007, there's always been something that's held Phil Hughes back from reaching his full potential as a starting pitcher.  First it was his health, then the flip-flopping of his role between starter and reliever, then the regression of his offspeed stuff and inability to effectively develop and use a strong second and third pitch, and now in 2012 it was the high number of home runs he allowed.  Hughes' high HR total put a bit of a damper on what could have been his best season to date last year, and became the latest reason to question his potential ceiling as a starter and his future with the organization.

Phil signed a 1-year deal for a pretty good salary recently and will head into this season with a lot to prove and a lot of money to potentially earn.  Correcting the HR problems that plagued him in 2012 and finding a way to cut down on the longball will be key for Hughes this year.  As a flyball pitcher, it's not the easiest thing in the world to do, but it could be the determining factor in just how much money Hughes gets after this season and who he gets it from.

Who Really Needs A Platoon Partner In 2013?

(How many lefties should this guy be facing?  Courtesy of the AP)

"Platoon" is a word that's slowly worked its way into the collection of words typically associated with the Yankee lineup over the past few seasons, right next to "patience" and "power."  Older veterans on the downside of their careers who are drawn to New York to chase a ring, lack of impact bats coming up from the farm system, and the newly implemented payroll restrictions have all combined to make the Yankee lineup a safe haven for the still productive but no longer well-rounded hitter.  This season, the reliance on platoons will play an even bigger role in the everyday lineup as the Yankees have their fair share of guys who only excel against one category of handed pitchers, guys like Ichiro, Hafner, Gardner, and Youkilis.  Joe has shown before that he's not afraid to mix and match and play with the lineup, but how necessary is it for every one of those players to be platooned?  Does the Yankee lineup really need to be turned into Version R and Version L?  Let's take a look.