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Phil Hughes

A photo of Phil Hughes.

Philip J. Hughes (born June 24, 1986 in Mission Viejo, California) is a Major League Baseball right-handed starting pitcher, who was the first-round pick of the New York Yankees in the 2004 Major League Baseball Draft. Nicknamed "Phil Franchise" because of his promise as one of the bookends in the front of the Yankees' rotation. Despite his potential, Hughes has been injury prone, battling injuries throughout his professional career and has missed the majority of his first 2 MLB seasons.

High school career and draft[]

Phil Hughes attended Foothill High School in Santa Ana, California, where he was a first-team High School All-American pitcher and threw one perfect game. During high school, he was an avid Red Sox fan. In his junior year (2003) he was 12-0, and posted an 0.78 ERA while striking out 85 batters in 72 innings. [1] In his senior year (2004) he had a 9-1 record, with a 0.69 ERA. His one loss came at the hands of Woodbridge High School in Irvine, California. In 61 innings, he gave up 40 hits and 3 walks, while striking out 83 batters.

Hughes first committed to Santa Clara University, [1] but was drafted by the New York Yankees in the 1st round (23rd overall) in June 2004. The Yankees were awarded this pick when they lost free agent pitcher Andy Pettitte to the Houston Astros.

Minor leagues and spring training[]

In 2004, he pitched 5 scoreless innings for the Gulf Coast League Gulf Coast Yankees, striking out 8.

Hughes spent 2005, his first full professional year, split between the Yankees' Rookie League team and the Single-A Tampa Yankees. He went 9-1 with a 2.19 ERA, and in 86 innings gave up 54 hits while striking out 93.

After receiving a non-roster invitation to the Yankee's spring training, he returned to the Tampa club.

On May 3, 2006, at the age of 19, Hughes made his first start with the Double-A Trenton Thunder.

In 2006 in the minor leagues, Hughes held opposing batters to a .179 batting average in 146.3 innings, while averaging 2 walks and 10 strikeouts per 9 innings pitched. [2] On June 13, 2006, Hughes took a no-hitter into the 6th inning, and threw a 1-hitter through 7 innings. On June 23, 2006, Hughes put forth another dominant start, taking a no-hitter into the 8th inning, and pitching 8 shutout innings. He became stronger as the year progressed; in August he gave up only 10 hits in 30 innings, while striking out 40. Hughes made one appearance in the Eastern League playoffs, earning a no-decision while pitching 6 innings of 1-run ball with 13 strikeouts.

In November 2006, Baseball America rated Hughes the Yankees #1 prospect, and as having the best curveball and best control in the Yankee system, called him "arguably the best pitching prospect in the minors," and projected him as the Yankees #1 starter in 2010. [3] Through 2006, in his minor league career Hughes is 21-7 with a 2.13 ERA in 237.1 innings (45 starts), in which he has averaged 5.7 hits, 2.0 walks, and 10.2 strikeouts per 9 innings.

Hughes was rated the #2 prospect in the minor leagues for 2007 by Baseball Digest. [4] Brian Cashman indicated in December 2006 that he wanted Hughes to start the 2007 season in Triple-A, though he had the talent to start the season in the major leagues. [5] In January 2007, the Yankees announced that Hughes was being invited to spring training. [6] After facing him in batting practice in spring training in February, Jason Giambi said: "He looks like a young Rocket." Ben Davis called his curveball "devastating," and Todd Pratt called it "deadly." [7] After catching Hughes in a spring training game in 2006, Yankees star catcher Jorge Posada said he had "the best arm in camp, no doubt about it," [8]. He began the 2007 pitching for the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre Yankees.

Major League[]

Hughes, the second-youngest player in the American League in 2007, made his major league debut on April 26, 2007, against the Toronto Blue Jays wearing number 65 (he wears 65 because he wanted to wear a number ending in five, and every lower number ending in five was taken or retired (5 Joe DiMaggio, 15 Thurman Munson, 25 Jason Giambi, 35 Mike Mussina, 45 Carl Pavano, 55 Hideki Matsui). In four and a third innings, he allowed four runs on seven hits, earning his first career loss. In his second major league start on May 1 against the Texas Rangers, he was dominant and in control while maintaining a no-hitter through 6 and 1/3 innings before pulling his left hamstring on an 0-2 curveball to Mark Teixeira.[9] He returned on August 4 against the Kansas City Royals, in a 4.2-inning no-decision.

Hughes made his first post-season appearance in 2007 against the Cleveland Indians, pitching in relief in Game 1. He relieved Roger Clemens and pitched 3.2 scoreless innings in Game 3. He struck out four and earned his first playoff win. The youngest person on the Yankees roster (Hughes, 21) replaced the oldest person on the roster (Roger Clemens, 45) when Clemens left with a hamstring injury.

Prior to the 2008 season, it was reported among numerous news sources that Hughes was coveted by the Minnesota Twins organization, should the Twins trade Johan Santana to the Yankees[10].

For the first half of the 2008 season, Hughes switched to number 34, a number he wore in high school and for the 2006 All-Star Futures Game. On April 30, he was placed on the disabled list with a strained oblique and cracked rib. He is expected to be out until September. On a May 2 visit to an optometrist, Hughes was found to be slightly nearsighted and is set to wear glasses upon his return.[11] Hughes has also stated that upon his return, he intends to once again wear number 65, the number he wore in his first season in New York, which opened up 34 to be taken by the Yankees newly-acquired relief pitcher Dámaso Marté.[citation needed]

Scouting Report[]

He features:

  • a developing changeup in the low to mid-80s.
  • a hard slider (a "situation pitch," which he used less in 2006 than he had previously).[13][7]


In January 2008, Phil started a blog on WordPress as a way to interact with fans. The blog as of June 2008, has moved to YardBarker.[14]

Awards and honors[]

  • 2004 - 1st team High School All-American P
  • 2005 - New York Yankees Minor League Player of the Year
  • 2006 Minor League Baseball's End-of-Season Prospect Rankings [15]
  • Minor League News ranking - No. 45 - MLN 123 Baseball 2006[16]
  • 2007 Ranked #3 on Moundtalk's Top 100 Prospects.
  • 2007 Baseball America's Top 100 prospects #4.[17]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Mark Feinsand (2004-06-07). Bombers take California righty. Retrieved on 2007-04-26.
  2. Philip Hughes 2006 Stats. Retrieved on 2007-04-26.
  3. John Manuel (2006-11-08). 2007 Prospects: New York Yankees Top 10 Prospects. Retrieved on 2007-04-26.
  4. Joe Hamrahi (2006-12-20). Baseball Digest Daily's 2007 Top 100 Prospects: #1 - #50. Retrieved on 2007-04-26.
  5. Chad Jennings (200-12-16). Farm taking root Yankees stockpile minors with legitimate prospects. The Times-Tribune. Retrieved on 2007-04-26.
  6. Bryan Hoch (2007-01-12). Hughes among Yankees spring invites. Retrieved on 2007-04-26.
  7. 7.0 7.1 George King (2007-02-23). Hughes Da Man: Phenom compared to Rocket, Schilling. New York Post. Archived from the original on 2013-06-30. Retrieved on 2007-04-26.
  8. Mark Feinsand (2006-02-26). Hughes generating buzz. Retrieved on 2007-04-26.
  9. A No-Hit Bid by Hughes Ends With a Leg Injury - New York Times
  10. Santana for Melky, Hughes, and Prospect?
  11. Hughes to wear glasses upon return
  12. Scouting Report by Koby Schellenger
  13. David Laurila (2006-09-11). Prospect Q&A Philip Hughes. Retrieved on 2007-04-26.
  14. Phil Hughes' Official Blog on Yardbarker
  15. Jonathan Mayo. 2006 Minor League Baseball's End-of-Season Prospect Rankings. Retrieved on 2007-04-26.
  16. Dan Hickling (2007-04-26). Minor League News ranking: No. 45 - MLN FAB50 Baseball 2006. Retrieved on 2007-04-26.
  17. Prospects: 2007 Top 100 Prospects

External links[]