Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Future Aces of New York Baseball

The Yankees and Mets both have a big time ace. Two fantastic talented pitchers that should be on most people’s top five list when talking about the best pitchers in MLB. Of course I’m talking about C.C. Sabathia and Johan Santana… but the two aces have competition for the top spot on their respective teams, from two young hot shot pitchers who are making bids to show just how fantastic they can be. Of course I’m now talking about Phil Hughes and Mike Pelfrey. Two youngsters who are showing their teams that they can hold their own with the big budget pitchers they follow in the rotation.

Hughes is 7-1 with a 2.54 ERA. Pelfrey is 8-1 with a 2.23 ERA. Both have pitched extremely well this season. Both are in the top ten in wins and ERA for their leagues. Pelfrey even stepped in and got a save in the Mets crazy 20 inning game against the Cardinals back in April.

Hughes is following up a great 2009 in which he was 8-3 with a 3.03 ERA (and 3 saves) pitching mostly in the bullpen and eventually settling into the set up role… one he excelled at. He did make seven starts at the beginning of the season going 3-2 with a 5.45 ERA in those starts but had a terrifc year once he established his role in the bullpen. While he did have a shakey playoff role, the Yankees saw Hughes as a starter and he was given a chance to win the 5th starter job in spring training… something he did rather easily. Hughes has gone 7 innings in six of his 11 starts and has struck out 68 batters in 69.2 inning this year, avergaing almost a strikeout per inning.

Pelfrey didn’t have a great 2009, but had an excellent 2008 in which he went 13-11 with a 3.72 ERA in which he started the season 2-6 but went 11-5 down the stretch (include three hard luck losses in which he went at least 7 innings and gave up 2 or less runs). Pelfrey has been almost unstoppable lately, going 4-0 with a 1.19 ERA in his last five starts in which he has faced the Braves, Yankees, Phillies and Padres (the team with the best record in the NL) twice. He’s also struck out 27 while walking only 11 in the 37.2 innings of those five starts. In other words, it’s not like he’s only putting up numbers against the dregs of Major League Baseball. He’s also gone 7, 8 and 9 innings in his last three starts, saving the bullpen.

Ironically, Hughes one loss this year was to the Mets in a game he faced off against Pelfrey.

Hughes is just 23 years old (he’ll be 24 in just under two weeks) and Pelfrey turned 26 just before the season started. Both should be around for quite some time, so feel safe in buying those Hughes and Pelfrey jerseys now, because something makes me think they both will be at the top of their rotations for years to come.

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