Thursday, December 20, 2007

Buchholz vs. Hughes

Sorry if that title's misleading. I don't mean for this post to be a pissing match between Red Sox and Yankees fans, each claiming that their pitcher is superior. I would encourage discussion regarding the two pitchers, but this post isn't truly meant as grounds for comparing the two pitchers So, in case you were wondering what inspired the title, here it is.

Keith Law had an open chat today
. One of the participants was a Yankees fan from New Jersey, who wrote in with the following question.

"Merry X-mas Keith… Anyone who thinks bucholz is equal to hughes has never looked at anything but a box score… Their pure stuff is comparable, but before the injury, Hughes had a slight edge all around, but hughes is also three years younger and still developing physically. Bucholz is where he’s going to be physically, especially in terms of power (which translates to break on his secondary pitches). Scouts having followed them consider Hughes to be a more intelligent, polished pitcher, despite being younger. Hughes has no personality issues, and showed in the playoffs that he can step into a big spot and come up even bigger. Bucholz has already been arrested and is a spoiled rich kid who thinks he can get away with anything. Hughes mechanics are considered fairly sound, none of his pitches thought to be serious injury risks. Bucholz mechanics on his breaking balls are ‘whippy’ and put a lot of torque on his arm. there is a lot of question how, especially as thin as he is, if his arm will hold up. so… even if there stuff is comparable, age, polish, mechanics, body… all go in favor of hughes… it’s why he was the highest rated pitching prospect in baseball coming into 07."

Keith Law then responded with the following:

Merry Christmas to you too. I have zero idea where you get any of this from. Buchholz’ raw stuff > Hughes’. When Hughes has two secondary pitches as good as Buchholz’ curve and change, you give me a call, OK?"

Now I've heard many Yankees fans tell me that scouts value Hughes more than Buchholz. But who are these scouts? To be honest, I don't care what scouts have supposedly said. When you read scouting reports it's often unclear when the scouts have done the reports or what organizations these scouts may be affiliated with. Anyone can go out and find a scout who thinks their guy is the real thing. I prefer to rely on my one eyes, not the eyes of some other, semi-anonymous person.

Keith Law seems to be equally confused by who these "scouts" are, and how their opinions are relevant, or accurate. He makes the point that Buchholz does have some incredible secondary pitches. Anyone who saw Buchholz pitch in the majors last year can attest to how filthy his changeup and curve looked.

And I found it humorous how quick the fan was to attack Buchholz' "character issues." Funny how a one time incident when the pitcher was in high school is indicative of character issues. If a one time incident by a high school student is indicative of character issues, then what does that say of Andy Pettitte? Did he not show a one time lack of good judgment ate age 30, when he was an adult major league pitcher who took hGH?

Furthermore, Yankees prospects have been infamously overrated for years. Remember when pitchers like Brien Taylor, Mark Hutton and Sterling Hitchcock were supposed to be the next big things in the early 90's? Not one of them turned out to be the top of the rotation starters they were billed as.

The Yankees play in New York City, their prospects will always have more hype surrounding them, especially in times when the major league team hasn't brought home in a championship in a while. But the reality of the situation is, regardless of how great a name Melky Cabrera has, he still barely outhit Coco Crisp last year, by .006 points in OPS and he's an average defensive player. Maybe it's just me, but I find it hard to be excited about anyone who hits like Coco Crisp.

I think it's rather mundane to try to claim either pitcher is better than the other. They're in their low 20's and neither one has pitched even half a season at the major league level. Both are works in progress and fans of either pitcher will only see what they want to. The issue of which pitcher is better is one that we will all have to wait to observe.


Anonymous said...

I would say same thing for Redsox Fans.. They're overrate their prospect as well and overvalue them.

Why Melky is better than Coco?

Melky has out slugged CoCo the past two years and gotten on base better by a wide margin in 1 and slightly worse in the other. He's had a better OPS+ in each of those two years as well. On top of that he's younger and "hypothetically" has more room to develop. He's also still pre-arbitration.

CoCo is a better fielder and a better baserunner. Neither is a good hitter, but the past two years Melky has been the better of the two.

Melky can play all three outfield positions and has better arm than Coco.. Coco will free agent in 2009 while Melky will be cost less. Therefore Melky has better value than Crisp.

Plus Coco is what he is. He's not going to get any better. Melky still has upside.

Well I look at the past two because I don't see much reason to go back 3 or 4 years to compare. Redsox Fan say Crisp been playing this way because of injury. Maybe. Or maybe this is what he is and those seasons were a fluke. And I think I did say that the reason I prefer Melky is the cost and age factors. I specifically said that neither is a very good hitter though Melky has been better the past two years. I also said that CoCo was a better baserunner.

I can't help but.....and I swear to jesus christ I'm not being biased but I can't help but realize that a package of Lester, Coco, Bowden, Masterson < Kennedy, Melky, Tabata, Horne.....and I would even throw in Betemit because of their 3b needs.

Ethan Michaels said...

The point really isn't which centefrfielder is better. It's that neither centerfielder is very good, even if they do have cool names.

As for the packages, the Twins reportedly would prefer Lester over Kennedy because Lester's a lefty and has more major league experience. He's struggled a bit the past couple of seasons but he also hasn't been healthy and he was once the Red Sox best pitching prospect.

And your Red Sox package is missing Lowrie. Lowrie would provide the Twins with some pop from a middle infielder, something they've lacked for a long time. He'd also give them something they're desperate for, OBP. Lowrie hit .300/.356/.506 last year in his first Triple-A stint. He began the season by hitting .297/.410/.501 at Double-A.

Compared to Melky, Lowrie has more power, more patience at the plate, and would be cost controlled for longer.

As for Horne and Masterson, both had their first Double-A stints last year. Masterson had much better hit rates (7.60 H/9 vs. 8.75), walk rates (2.79 H/9 vs. 3.35). The difference in WHIP was 1.34 vs. 1.16.

Hopefully that helps you to understand why the Twins would prefer the Red Sox package. If you have any more questions, feel free to come back and ask. You can post a name if you'd like, I don't require posters to log in to put a name.

Thanks for stopping by. I hope this was helpful.

Ethan Michaels said...

And for the record, the Yankees appear to be willing to only include 3 players in any deal involving Hughes. So their package would look more like Hughes/Melky/Horne or Hughes/Melky/Jackson.

The Franchise said...

Brien Taylor really was going to be the next big thing, and everybody thought so, the only reason he never made it was because he injured his pitching shoulder in a bar fight and never regained his High 90's heat, and he lost his slider.

OldYanksFan said...

As a Yankees fan I say good post. Your opinions are right on. Nobody (who is realistic) thinks Melky is great, we are just happy to have any productive youth after a long period of neglecting our farm.

Melkman does have some potential and is still very young. The question is will he be the 2006 version (.850+/- OPS) with more pop, or last years toned down model?

raymagnetic said...

Idiot, do you know how old Melky Cabrera is and how old Coco Crisp is? Shouldn't the age difference factor in your "evaluation".

Secondly, Brien Taylor hurt himself in a fight, could that be part of the reason why he didn't pan out?

Thirdly, Jon Lester has never put up the numbers that Phil Hughes has, NEVER. He has always walked a ton of batters and probably always will. Last year Phil Hughes was the number 1 pitching prospect in all of baseball.

Forthly, when Lowrie puts up numbers in the majors give me a call okay? Feel free to respond whenever you feel like, I'm always on the Lohud Yankees blog. I only came here after you decided to post on that forum. Idiot.

Ethan Michaels said...

Alright, alright, let's not get too carried away with the insults. I think the conversation would be better if we didn't get too emotionally involved.

As stated above, the point wasn't really to compare Crisp to Melky. It was to make the point that even though Melky has a cool name, and he's young, he's never shown a propensity to be even an average major league outfielder. Out of CF that qualified last year, Melky ranked 10th out of 13 in OPS. His major league line is .280/.329/.409 .

AS for Brien Taylor, he was only one of the many examples I gave, and injuries are a very real reality. Chamberlain has quite an interesting history with injury himself, which is way he dropped so far in the draft.

I never even mentioned Lester in the article so there's no need to be upset about me comparing him to Hughes. The entire point of the article, if you read the end, was that you can't compare these young 20s guys who have barely pitched in the majors.

And finally, I'd be happy to let you know when Lowrie makes the majors. As of now though, I think most teams would prefer Lowrie to Melky for the reasons I've already stated. Lowrie is cost controlled for longer and he's shown much more patience and power than Melky ever has.

Ethan Michaels said...

Sorry, I gave you the wrong minor league line, just disregard it.

Travis G. said...

since you're so enamored with MiLB stats, how do you contend with the fact that Hughes was better in every minor league stat (except k/9): era, whip, h/9, bb/9, k/bb, HR/9?

oh, and he's 2 years younger and has a more ideal size/frame than Buchholz.

not that Buchholz is shit, just that Hughes is better. Buch has been overrated bc of one amazing game imo. Hughes did virtually the same thing months earlier (and 2.5 years younger).

Ethan Michaels said...

Like I said Travis, it's silly to compare the two given their age and the fact that neither one have had even half a major league season. What they've done in the minors doesn't matter, it's more a matter of who can adjust better to the majors.

As far as Buchholz goes, he was compared to and contrasted with Hughes well before he ever made the majors. Hughes had the better overall minor league numbers, there's no doubt about that. But there's also no doubt that Buchholz pitched better this year than Hughes ever has. Buchholz really came into his own this year.

When he began the season at Double-A, he clearly out pitched Hughes at that same level last year. In fact, the ERA, WHIP and K/9 numbers that he posted there were better than numbers that Hughes has ever put up at any level of professional ball.

And I don't think there's any doubts about which pitcher had a better start to their major league career. I don't care about the no-hitter. When Hughes almost pitched one I heard a lot of Yankees fans citing it when talking about how good Hughes is. Then Buchholz actually does throw one, and Yankees fans are looking up the names of former no-hitter throwers who had poor careers.

Fans of either teams are going to say whatever makes their guy look like the better pitcher. The whole point of the article is how ridiculous those claims sometimes are, and that we'll have to wait and see which one is really better.