As mysterious as Hughes’ dead arm is, part of me wonders if this is just part of the risk involved with young pitchers, especially those who have had an increase in workload. Many young pitchers have gone through a down period of some sorts. Even Justin Verlander, who the Yankees are facing right now, while still throwing a lot of innings, had a pretty mediocre age 25 season. Obviously we’ve seen Joba Chamberlain’s velocity fluctuate. It’s hard to be a consistently good starter period, but it seems to be particularly hard to stay healthy and productive throughout your early 20’s.
The good news is Hughes is still young and has plenty of time to get back on track.