Phil Hughes The Cy Young Award Winner?

June 9, 2010   ·     ·   Jump to comments
Article Source: Bleacher Report - New York Yankees

If you had said before the season started that a New York Yankees pitcher would be having a Cy Young caliber season in June, you would have thought it would be CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett, or maybe even Javier Vazquez.

You might have even thought it was Mariano Rivera.

But on June 9, it’s none of those Yankee pitchers. The pitcher that is having a Cy Young caliber season is Phil Hughes.


Hughes won his eighth game last night in a 12-7 victory over the Baltimore Orioles. Hughes only gave up three of those runs while walking none and striking out four in six innings of work.

Hughes is now 8-1 on the season and leads the American League in wins. He is also in the top-1o in these categories:

ERA – 2.71 (6th)

WHIP – 1.09 (6th)

H/9 – 7.23 (6th)

K/9 – 8.79 (6th)


David Price, Clay Buchholz, Jon Lester, Cliff Lee and Jeff Niemann have emerged as the early favorites for the AL Cy Young award. Outside of Lester and Lee, none of these pitchers have proven they can be successful over a full year.

Hughes has just as good of a chance to win the award as any of them.

So why has Hughes been so successful this year? It’s a real simple answer, first pitch strikes. Hughes is throwing an astounding 66 percent of his first pitches for strikes, which ranks fifth amongst starters in all of baseball.

He’s getting ahead of the batters, and in turn, is getting hitters to swing at his pitches. Hughes is second in baseball in O-Swing Percentage (35.1 percent), which is swings and misses outside the strike zone.

As a pitcher, if you can get hitters to constantly swing at your pitches, pitches that usually aren’t strikes, but since you are ahead in the count, the hitter is in a defensive mode and has to swing, you are going to be successful.

That philosophy was true 100 years ago and it will be true 100 years from now.

Right now Hughes is pitching as well as anyone in the American League. If he keeps this up, he could very well find himself as the Cy Young award winner.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

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