[翻譯]Man with the Golden Gun

Man with the Golden Gun


Published : February 18, 2006

The most important person - not just player - in the Yankees organization was born 11 days before the Olsen twins. He wears a number, 65, more associated with a football center than the center of attention.

他是洋基球團中最重要的成員, 而他卻只比Olsen姊妹花早10天出生, 他的球衣背號是65號, 看起來還比較像是個美式足球中鋒的背號

Yet, don't let the number on his back or his not-legal-for-alcohol age of 20 diminish Philip Hughes' worth to the Yankees. He is the Great Right Hope. He is not just their No. 1 prospect, perhaps the No. 1 pitching prospect in baseball. Hughes is No. 1 in magnitude around Legends Field.

不過千萬不要因為他的背號, 或是他甚至不能合法飲酒的年齡(現年20歲), 而低估了他對洋基球團的重要性, 他是Great Right Hope, 他是最受期待的潛力新秀, 甚至可能是棒球史上最佳的投手績優股, 而他也是Legends Field最受矚目的焦點

There is immense pressure for him to fulfill his ace pedigree, because if he doesn't, the Yanks have to wonder where else they will find that commodity moving forward.

他身上背負著巨大的壓力, 因為要是連他都無法如眾人期待般成為王牌投手的話, 洋基球團還真不知道要去哪再找一個可以完成此期望的選手

Just look at the baseball landscape. The most precious commodity is prime-aged, ace-quality pitchers. In the past, the Yankees could expect to just buy that breed. But there is so much money in the game now that teams such as Arizona (Brandon Webb), Toronto (Roy Halladay) and Houston (Roy Oswalt) can tie up their aces throughout their prime years.

環顧當今棒球環境, 最具價值的選手就是年輕並且有著王牌潛力的投手, 在過去, 洋基可以用砸錢的方式買到他們想要的投手, 不過現在各球團投資在棒球上的經費都大幅成長, 響尾蛇、藍鳥或是太空人也都有能力透過天價合約留下像是Brandon Webb、Roy Halladay和Roy Oswalt這樣的好手

So few young aces reach the market. Thus, it cost the Red Sox $51 million just to have a conversation with that kind of candidate (Daisuke Matsuzaka). Barry Zito is not even a true ace and he received $126 million from the Giants.

市場上可供選擇的年輕王牌投手實在太少了, 因此紅襪隊光是為了取得和松阪大輔談判的權利就付出了5,100萬美金, 甚至連稱不上是個貨真價實王牌投手的Barry Zito, 都能從巨人隊手上拿到總值1億2,600萬美金的肥約

Next offseason looks worse. There were reports over the weekend that the Cubs were near a deal for Carlos Zambrano. If so, there will be no prime-aged, top-of-the-rotation stalwarts available in the next free-agent market. The following offseason such starters as Jon Garland, Jake Peavy, C.C. Sabathia, Ben Sheets and, most notably, Johan Santana could be free. But that is 20 months from now, enough time for injuries or long-term deals to strike.

這樣的狀況在2007年球季結束後只會更糟, 據報導指出, 小熊隊和Carlos Zambrano的合約談判可望在近期達成共識, 如果真是如此的話, 明年的自由球員市場將會沒有任何年輕、名列球隊頭幾號先發的投手投入市場, 或許後年的自由球員市場上會出現Jon Garland、Jake Peavy、C.C. Sabathia、Ben Sheets以及最受矚目的Johan Santana, 不過那也是20個月之後的事了, 這段時間足以讓球員因傷而表現不佳或是和球隊完成續約

This is occurring as many teams, not just the Yankees alone anymore, bid significantly for top players. And, coincidentally, the Yanks are actually trying to be more financially prudent.

這種狀況其實對許多球隊都造成影響, 不只是洋基而已, 各隊都為得到優秀球員而願意付出鉅額代價, 不過在此同時, 洋基也試著想用更審慎的態度來評估球團的財務運作

So, again, if Hughes does not meet projections, how do the Yanks stay elite as Mike Mussina and Andy Pettitte fade away? Maybe Chien-Ming Wang, the AL Cy Young runner-up last year, is a long-term ace. But, historically, Wang's poor strikeout rates have been a strong indicator away from sustained dominance.

這麼一來, 如果Hughes無法滿足人們對他的期望時, 洋基要怎麼在Mike Mussina和Andy Pettitte相繼淡出後仍然維持自己的競爭力?或許長遠看來, 在去年美聯Cy Young獎評選中位居第二的王建民會是洋基的王牌投手, 不過歷史上有著像王建民一樣低三振率的投手, 通常都有無法長期保持其主宰球賽能力的隱憂

GM Brian Cashman readily agrees that the premium on developing high-end pitching is greater than ever. So he focused last year's draft and offseason trades on big arms. But the two draft picks with the most ace potential, Dellin Betances and Joba Chamberlain, have yet to pitch above Rookie Ball, so they are years away. Humberto Sanchez, obtained from Detroit for Gary Sheffield, is nearly major-league ready, but there is concern about his conditioning and elbow.

總經理Brian Cashman毫不猶豫地承認培育優質投手是球團目前最重要的課題, 因此在去年的選秀和交易中, 他都著重於尋找強而有力的投手, 不過透過選秀進入洋基的球員中, 兩位看起來最具王牌潛力的Dellin Betances和Joba Chamberlain 都還需要一段時間的培育, 在和老虎隊的交易中得到的Humberto Sanchez, 是有著極為接近大聯盟等級的身手, 不過他的調整狀況和手肘健康讓洋基還是無法完全放心

And, even at his best, Sanchez is not considered in the prospect class of Hughes, who was so good at Double-A last year that he never even faced a bases-loaded situation. His Double-A pitching coach, Dave Eiland, called it "a man against boys." Overall last year, Hughes was 12-6 with a 2.15 ERA. In 1461/3 innings, he allowed just 92 hits and 34 walks while striking out 168. He then struck out 13 in six innings in the Double-A playoffs.

不過就算調整到最佳狀態, Sanchez還是無法和Hughes相提並論, Hughes去年在2A的表現驚人到他甚至不曾面對過滿壘的局面, Hughes的投手教練Dave Eiland形容Hughes在2A的表現就像是"大人打小孩"一樣, 總結去年的表現, Hughes的數據為12勝6敗, 防禦率2.15, 總投球局數146又1/3局, 只被擊出92支安打, 投出34個保送, 三振對手168人次, 在2A的季後賽中, 他更在6局的投球中就送出了13次三振

But the undercurrent to his season was that the Yanks curtailed his pitches and innings concerned about overtaxing such a young, precious arm. They have the same inclination this year. The plan is to start him at Triple-A, get him to refine his changeup and again limit his innings in hope that the backend of a 180-inning season will be spent helping the Yanks make the playoffs.

在去年球季洋基試著透過控制Hughes的投球數和局數來保護這個珍貴的手腕, 而今年球季他們也會有同樣的動作, 計畫在今年將讓Hughes於3A開始起步, 讓他繼續磨練其變速球的威力, 然後希望他能在球季末期為洋基在爭取季後賽出線機會時盡一份力

There are those in the organization, however, who think he is ready now. One of them, Jorge Posada, caught Hughes yesterday and raved about his fastball, curve, change, budding slider, dynamic location and poise.

當然在洋基球團中還是有些人認為, Hughes已經完全具備挑戰大聯盟的能力了, Jorge Posada就是其中之一, Posada在昨天和Hughes進行投捕練習後, 對Hughes的速球、曲球、持續成長中的滑球、絕佳的進壘點和沈穩大為稱讚

"I'm pretty sure he can come north with us on Opening Day," Posada said.

"我非常確定他可以和我們一同於開幕戰中並肩作戰" Posada說道

For now, though, the Yanks want to limit the stress on both Hughes' arm and his mind. They certainly don't want to hear anybody tab him the most important person, not just player, in the organization. But that is the reality. So much of the future rests on his right arm. He is No. 1 with a bullet.

現階段洋基球團並不想讓Hughes的手腕和Hughes本身感受太大壓力, 洋基球團絕對也不希望有人把"球團中最重要成員"的頭銜冠在Hughes頭上, 不過這的確是事實啊, 有太多未來都被寄託在Hughes的右手臂上...洋基最致命的武器