The month of September could see a lot of players called up from Indianapolis. Most of those players will be members of the 40-man roster, such as Pedro Ciriaco, Josh Harrison, and Daniel Moskos, to name a few. However, it’s possible that we could see a few guys added to the 40-man roster, after watching those players put up strong numbers in AAA. One of those players could be Jared Hughes.
Hughes returned to Altoona at the start of the 2011 season, for his fourth trip to the AA level (the first one came at the end of the 2008 season). He pitched out of the rotation, with a 4.09 ERA in 61.2 innings, along with an unimpressive 33:18 K/BB ratio. Hughes was finally promoted to AAA in June, where he would pitch as a reliever. So far, the results have been excellent.
In 27 innings as a reliever for Indianapolis, Hughes has a 2.33 ERA, along with a 32:12 K/BB ratio and no home runs allowed. While he throws in the low 90s as a starter, Hughes can crank his sinker ball up to the mid-90s, even touching 96 MPH this year. That pitch alone makes him a weapon out of the bullpen. Indianapolis Indians broadcaster Scott McCauley had a recent article talking about the great job Hughes has done this year since being promoted to Indianapolis.
A great sinker ball doesn’t guarantee success in the majors. We saw that with Michael Crotta this year (although I’m not writing him off, just saying that the sinker baller, who was recently designated for assignment, didn’t have overall success this year). Great numbers in AAA also don’t guarantee success. We’ve seen that many times over the years. That said, the combination should give Hughes an opportunity in the majors. If that opportunity doesn’t come in September, then it should definitely come in the Spring, assuming Hughes doesn’t get selected in the Rule 5 draft.