Twins right-hander Phil Hughes has thrived with a change of scenery this season and he could finish the year with a place in MLB history.
Hughes struck out five and walked none while allowing four runs over seven innings in a no-decision against the Indians last night. He now owns a 3.61 ERA over 31 starts this season to go along with an absurd 181/16 K/BB ratio over 201 2/3 innings. That gives him 11.31 strikeouts for every walk, which would beat Bret Saberhagen (1994) for the single-season record.
If you look at the list on Baseball Reference (which still has Hughes at the top) you’ll see a lot of names from the late 1800s, so here’s a look at where he stands among qualified starters since 1901:
11.3 – Phil Hughes (2014)
11.0 – Bret Saberhagen (1994)
10.3 – Cliff Lee (2010)
9.6 – Curt Schilling (2002)
8.9 – Pedro Martinez (2000)
8.9 – Greg Maddux (1997)
8.5 – Pedro Martinez (1999)
8.3 – Ben Sheets (2004)
7.9 – Carlos Silva (2005)
7.9 – Greg Maddux (1995)
Some amazing company there. It’s worth noting that Mariners right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma currently has 7.89 strikeouts for every walk while Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw is at 7.35 and David Price has 7.08. In case you haven’t noticed, pitching is dominating this season.
Hughes can finish off the record when he makes one final start next week against the Diamondbacks at home.