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.