Friday, January 31, 2014

25-Man Roster Dissection: Phil Hughes

Minnesota spent a lot of money in a couple of days on two free agent pitchers. This was a change for an organization that had never spent more on the free agent market than the 3-year, $21 million contract for Josh Willingham. That being said, Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes are expected to be strong members of the Twins starting rotation in 2014.

In my on going series "25-Man Roster Dissection," I have been trying to identify the Twins players likely to spend the most time on the team's 25-man roster next season. There have been obvious choices so far but there will be some tough decisions to make for the final couple of spots. Hughes shouldn't have to worry about his spot for 2014.

2013 Recap: 5.19 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, 121 SO, 42 BB (145.2 IP)
Hughes probably couldn't wait for his time to be done under the bright lights of New York. There had been a lot of hype surrounding him as he moved through the Yankees farm system. Those dreams never came true at the big league level and there were some rough times in his last year in pinstripes. He didn't win a game in the second half of the year and his ERA ballooned to 6.65 during his last 12 appearances. Yankee Stadium destroyed Hughes as he posted a 1-10 record and a 6.32 ERA over 78.1 innings. Needless to say he will be happy to get out of "The House That Ruth Built."

Forecasting 2014: 4.28 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 117 SO, 40 BB (147.0 IP)
When Hughes entered free agency, he figured he would be sorting through a lot of one-year offers from various teams. The Twins saw something else in him and offered him a multiple year contract. Target Field should be a friendlier venue for him to make half of his starts. Outside of Yankee Stadium last year, Hughes posted a respectable 3.88 ERA over 67.1 innings. He may never live up to the hype surrounding him in his early years in the Yankee organization but that's not what the Twins need. They need Hughes to be a consistent middle of the rotation starter for a couple of seasons, as their prospects get closer to the big leagues.

25-Man Roster Safety: Locked-In

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