Hughes on fire in Arizona Fall League
Young pitcher hopes AFL success carries over to season
After viewing much of his campaign as a disappointment, Phil Hughes has come out firing in the Arizona Fall League, looking to set an early tone for what he hopes will be the beginning of a rebound season.
The 22-year-old Hughes has pitched well in his first two starts for the Peoria Javelinas, limiting opponents to one run -- a solo homer -- and five hits in 10 innings (0.90 ERA).
Hughes has walked six and struck out 10 in his two AFL outings, logging a win in the Javelinas' 10-3 Opening Day victory on Oct. 7. Hughes also pitched five innings of four-hit ball on Monday in a no-decision against the Phoenix Desert Dogs, the day he was named the AFL's first Pitcher of the Week of 2008.
The right-hander finished his big league campaign on a high note by pitching well against the White Sox and Blue Jays in his final two starts of the season, including eight innings of two-run ball in a Sept. 24 no-decision at Toronto.
Here is a look at how the other Yankees prospects are doing in the fall/winter leagues:
Arizona Fall League
OF Austin Jackson: The Yankees' top position player prospect, Jackson has collected five RBIs in his first six games for the Javelinas, with a triple among his three hits in 21 at- bats. Jackson has walked twice and struck out seven times as he prepares for a Spring Training during which he will have an outside chance at making New York's big league roster, while more likely projecting to open at Triple-A.
1B Juan Miranda: The Cuban-born slugger has been one of the Javelinas' most productive batters early, stroking four doubles and two triples among eight hits in his first 12 at-bats. Miranda has scored three runs in three games and should merit some consideration for New York's first-base vacancy next spring.
RHP Jeff Marquez: Working in relief after injuries hindered his progress this season, Marquez has appeared twice for the Javelinas, allowing one hit over three innings. He has struck out four.
INF Kevin Russo: The 24-year-old Russo has two hits in his first 17 at-bats for Peoria, playing five games after making the AFL roster from Double-A Trenton. Russo hit .307 with two homers and 33 RBIs in 71 games at Trenton this season.
RHP Humberto Sanchez: The Bronx-born Sanchez has appeared once this fall for the Javelinas, allowing four runs, two hits and three walks in two-thirds of an inning (54.00 ERA). Sanchez pitched twice in September for the Yankees, including a relief appearance at Yankee Stadium, four blocks from his boyhood home.
RHP Kevin Whelan: The right-handed Whelan has appeared once for Peoria, pitching 1 2/3 innings of scoreless, one-hit ball while striking out three. Acquired in the January 2007 Gary Sheffield trade with Detroit, Whelan pitched as high as Double-A Trenton this year, going 2-0 with a 4.35 ERA and one save in 15 appearances.
Hawaii Winter Baseball
LHP Jeremy Bleich: The Yankees' supplemental-round pick in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, Bleich is 0-1 with a 3.75 ERA in three starts for the Waikiki BeachBoys. In 12 innings, the Stanford product has allowed five runs, including a home run, while walking eight and striking out nine.
RHP Andrew Brackman: New York's first-round pick in the 2007 Draft, Brackman has made four starts for Waikiki since coming off Tommy John surgery. The 6-foot-10 right-hander is 1-3 with a 6.14 ERA, having allowed 11 runs -- 10 earned -- and 15 hits in 14 2/3 innings. Brackman has walked 11, struck out 16 and threw five wild pitches.
C Austin Romine: Romine has five hits in his first 20 at-bats for the Waikiki BeachBoys, including a double and two RBIs. Romine, who turns 20 in November, hit an even .300 for Class A Charleston this season, slugging 10 homers and driving in 49 runs in 104 games.
INF Damon Sublett: After spending the season at Class A Tampa, the left-handed-batting Sublett has 11 hits in 38 at-bats for Waikiki, stroking three doubles, a triple and a home run to collect 11 RBIs. Sublett also has struck out 15 times after fanning 44 times in 160 at-bats for Tampa.
Liga Mexicana del Pacifico
OF Justin Christian: After making his big league debut in 2008 with New York, Christian is hitting .167 (2-for-12) through his first three games for Caneros de Los Mochis. Christian has walked twice, struck out once and has not been caught in four steal attempts.
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.