Hughes has more potential than Kennedy because of his pitching mechanics alone. Whenever I watch Hughes pitch, I get excited because his pitches look amazing, especially his curveball. I love his mechanics because he makes it seem so effortless to throw 95 mph. Hughes has not been the same after he injured his quad during his bid for a no-hitter in 2007. However, he told Bryan Hoch:
"I cleaned up some things mechanically and got my arm strength up," Hughes said. "I feel like I was in good shape last spring, but I've put on some good weight and worked on my changeup. My curveball is back to where I'd like it to be from 2006 and early '07, so I feel confident."
If this is the case, I am excited to see what he can do for us this season. But the question remains, where does he belong?
I think Hughes has done enough in the minors. He needs to be in the bullpen for the Yankees this season and I think the long-relief role is perfect for him. Let's face it, Joba Chamberlain is not going to make 33 starts for us this year. I definitely see Hughes making a few starts in place of Joba this season.
As for Kennedy, I strongly believe he needs another year to develop in Scranton. Out of all the long-reliever/spot-starter pitchers we have, Kennedy ranks at the bottom of my list:
2. Alfredo Aceves
3. Brett Tomko
4. Phil Coke
5. Dan Giese
This is a good sign coming from Kennedy though:
"I feel like I grew as a pitcher, just as far as maturity and making in-game adjustments rather than postgame or post-inning," Kennedy said. "This offseason, knowing that every other day someone signed, it still didn't change my mentality."I knew if I wanted to make any part of the rotation or have a spot, I'd have to work really hard and come to Spring Training ready. All I can do is work hard and show them that I want this, that I want to have the chance again."
Still, there's no way he should start the season in the majors. I see him being a frequent call up this season if and when our bullpen arms get tired. However:
Why do I love CC Sabathia for the Yankees? Save his first four wretched starts of 2008, CC pitched seven-plus innings in 24 out of 31 starts, including 10 complete games. Just think how much he is going to save our young arms this season.
Photos from Newsday and New York Post