We enter the final week in Rising Apple’s year in review series by visiting a man who mirrored the Mets’ season (hot start, lots of promise, crash and burn) in just about a month. A man who, until he made his debut, was best known as “that blogger the Mets signed.” Collin McHugh, this was your 2012.
How He Did on the Mound
McHugh burst onto the scene on August 23: with New York mired in a slump, he blanked the Colorado Rockies over seven innings, giving up just two hits and a walk while striking out nine. While the Mets lost the game (it was a slump, after all), young Mr. Collin received rave reviews, and many people were speculating on whether he would be the future of the rotation, or at least bring back some good bounty in a trade.
Then, after a brief trip down to the minors, everyone remembered that he did it all against the Rockies. McHugh made seven more appearances in September, including three starts, and gave up at least a run in every single one. The worst start was against Pittsburgh on September 25 when he let in seven runs while only producing four outs. His last appearance was in New York’s penultimate game when he let the Marlins win the game in the bottom of the 11th. All in all, McHugh finished with an 0-4 record and 7.59 ERA in 21.1 innings, and the Mets went 0-8 in games in which #36 was on the mound.
Areas to Improve Upon
Control was a big issue for McHugh at the end of the year. In his last three appearances he averaged more balls than strikes, hitting the strike zone five out of 15 times in his last game. Terry Collins attributed that lack of control to being “out of gas,” a reasonable assumption considering he tossed a career-high 168.2 innings between the big show and the farm. Still, one could also assume that after one great start, the rest of the majors caught up to McHugh. I suppose the first thing sounds nicer.
Projected Role in 2013
While my dad thinks he physically looks like Tom Seaver, the comparisons stop there. Barring some Sidd Finch-esque miracle, McHugh will spend most of 2013 in either Binghamton or Las Vegas (I know, can’t get used to it either). His next taste of big league action will likely have to wait until the next September call-ups.
Contract Status and Trade Rumors
McHugh made $480,000 this season and New York controls his contract next year. Given the Mets’ good stock of starting pitching and his status as a mid-level prospect, chances are high that if Sandy Alderson wants to pull the trigger for some outfielders, Collin McHugh will be on the train out of Flushing.