Phil Hughes was drafted with the 23rd pick in the 1st round in of the 2004 draft. The 23 year old made his debut April 26, 2007 against the Toronto Blue Jays, and I went to that game excited to see the phenom (went with Loudaman, Mikey Geah, and Kruk). He disappointed that night (4 1/3 innings, 7 hits and 4 earned runs), as he has done for most of his career up until this year. He worked out of the bullpen last year effectively, as he was 8-3 with a 3.03 ERA and a 10.05 K/9 and sub 3 W/9, with a 1.12 WHIP, but struggled in the post-season (8.53 ERA). Hughes had faced the Mets twice before this season in relief, tossing a total of 2 1/3 scoreless innings.
Hughes has an overhand delivery with very good arm speed. He features a 93-96 mph fastball, a sharp 12-6 curve-ball (76 mph) and a rare change-up. He has added a cutter this year, and is throwing it 24% of the time (88 mph). His fastball and cutter are his two plus pitches so far this year. He is a strike out pitcher (8.43 K/9 career).
So far this year he has been outstanding, with a 9-1 record and a 3.11 ERA, 1.13 WHIP. He has lasted 7+ innings in six of his 12 starts this year. He struggled versus the Mets on May 22, throwing 5 2/3 innings, but letting up 8 hits, 3 walks and 4 runs (he did strike out 7). He's still striking out almost a hitter per inning (8.84) and minimizing walks, (2.63 W/9). In fact, he hasn't walked more than 3 hitters in a game since April. He has also done a great job limiting home runs, allowing only 5 in 75+ innings this year (which is due for a correction). Even though he got the win in his last outing versus the Astros, he wasn't effective and got the W because the Yankees scored 9 runs behind him; his pitching line: 5 2/3 innings, 5 runs, 7 hits and 1 walk, while striking out 6.
Hughes has taken a huge step forward this year towards realizing his potential of a front-line starting pitcher.