Top 10 Third-Year Starting Pitchers

Phil Hughes
Text: Eric Mack,
Photo: Mike Ehrmann/SI


Phil Hughes

24, New York Yankees

Technically, this will be Hughes' fifth season in the majors, but he still qualifies as a pitcher ready to breakthrough with just 57 career starts because of his time spent in the Pitch-22, the Catch-22 for pitchers: Good enough to start, but too valuable in relief. Hughes won 18 games last year, but he did it with an ERA over 4.00 and having been limited to 176 1/3 innings. Expecting 20 wins will be a tall order, but not impossible for him. He should be able to cut his ERA to around 3.50, get his innings over 200 and his strikeouts to the 180 range. If he does all that, the Yankees can make him a 20-game winner and a Cy Young candidate. Hughes, like Hanson, likely won't go off the board until 20 starting pitchers are selected, but he can perform like a top 10 this season.

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