While perusing major league statistics today, I noted the season produced by New York Yankees right-hander Phil Hughes.
In 191 innings over 32 starts, he has posted a 4.23 ERA with a 165/46 K/BB ratio, allowing 196 hits. The K/BB ratio is quite good, but he's been tagged for 35 homers, helping result in an FIP of 4.57 and an xFIP of 4.36. In other words, his ERA is a fair, even slightly generous, approximation of how well he's pitched absent (some of) the vagaries of luck.
Hughes has now thrown 635 career innings, with a 535/203 K/BB ratio, 617 hits allowed, and a 99 ERA+..He's put up a career 8.9 WAR including 1.8 this year. Despite a 52-36 career record (.591), he's regarded as something of a disappointment. At one time he was the best pitching prospect in baseball, and while is a slightly above average starting pitcher, he didn't turn into a Cy Young type.
Not yet anyway.
I'm going to throw a statement out there to start a discussion.
STATEMENT: Phil Hughes will take a genuine and huge step forward in 2013, winning 20 or more games, with an ERA among the best in the league, in the top three. He will cut his home run rate, maintain the good control, but boost the strikeouts. He will receive strong Cy Young consideration as a result.
Do you think this is probable, plausible, or very unlikely? What do you see as the future for Hughes?