Results tagged ‘ Rhyne Hughes ’
Does he have a future?
His future is very uncertain after he was suspended for fifty games after testing positive for amphetamine use. He’s a minor league free agent, and will have to miss the first fifty games after he signs.
Last season, Hughes increased his power (.216 slugging percentage – batting average in 2011; .162 in 2010) and his walk rate while sacrificing contact. Unfortunately, Norfolk’s Harbor Park, with a very short right-field fence and an immense center field, is very kind to left-handed low-average power hitters. So it’s hard to judge if Hughes’ changes are real, or park-driven. When you include his drug suspension and the fact that he turned 28 at the end of the 2011 season, I’d say he’s a longshot to play in the minors in 2012.
Based on his last two seasons, Hughes projected as a .250 hitter who could hit 12-18 home runs in a full major-league season. He’s not a particularly good first baseman. Even without the baggage, he wouldn’t project as a major-league player.
Is he potentially a solution to the Orioles’ first-base problem?
At first blush, no. Hughes got off to a hot start at Norfolk in 2010, was called up to Baltimore, didn’t set the world on fire, was sent down, and faded — his final slash stats were .258/.314/.410. He’ll play 2011 at age 27.
On the other hand, Harbor Park obviously hurt Hughes, and Hughes had a much better 2009. His career AAA slash stats are .276/.332/.453; those numbers are probably pretty close to what he can do as a major leaguer. They don’t look good, but they’re a lot better than what the current Orioles first basemen did in 2010.
But that’s more of an indictment of the Orioles first basemen. Mark Teixeira, Kevin Youkilis, Justin Morneau, Paul Konerko, Miguel Cabrera, and Kendry Morales were all clearly better than that; and only Cleveland (Matt LaPorta), Seattle (Casey Kotchman), and Texas (Justin Smoak/Chris Davis/Mitch Moreland) were worse. The rest of the regular first basemen in the American League — Carlos Pena, Lyle Overbay, Billy Butler, and Daric Barton — were about the same. Looking forward, I’d say that I’d take every first baseman except Seattle and Texas over Rhyne Hughes.
Hughes played a lot of time in the outfield (61 games) in Norfolk. Would he be a viable bench player?
You can forget about Hughes being an outfielder; he was the worst outfielder that I’ve ever seen on an extended basis (I suspect Greg Luzinski was worse, but I didn’t see him often enough to register.) Hughes had eight outfield errors; the rest of the Tides combined for eleven. He had one outfield assist in his 61 games.
As a left-handed hitting bat-on-the-bench and backup first baseman, Hughes would be adequate; I don’t know if he’d be the best player of that type.