AccuScore: Hughes boosts Yankees as starter

AccuScore uses past player performance statistics to describe how players perform under different environmental, matchup, and game conditions. Using projected starting lineups, AccuScore simulates each game of the 2010 season one at-bat at a time. By repeating the simulation 10,000 to 20,000 times per game AccuScore calculates the precise probability each team has of winning each game and their division, and of making the playoffs. Here is the AccuScore.com analysis of the how Phil Hughes(notes) and Joba Chamberlain(notes) would impact the 2010 Yankees as the team's fifth starter. Visit AccuScore.com for daily updates to the season forecast and all game forecasts updated twice a day.

Manager Joe Girardi announced Thursday that Hughes has won the competition for the final spot in the Yankees rotation. The 23-year old right-hander beat out Chamberlain, Alfredo Aceves(notes) and Sergio Mitre(notes) for the job.

AL EAST FORECAST

PLAYOFF

DIV_WIN

WINS

LOSS

New York Yankees

90.0%

72.7%

96.9

65.1

Boston Red Sox

56.9%

19.6%

90.0

72.0

Tampa Bay Rays

26.3%

7.6%

85.8

76.2

Baltimore Orioles

0.5%

0.1%

72.2

89.8

Toronto Blue Jays

0.2%

0.0%

70.1

91.9

IMPACT

PLAYOFF

DIV_WIN

WINS

LOSS

P. Hughes 5th Starter

90.0%

72.7%

96.9

65.1

J. Chamberlain 5th Starter

81.8%

59.9%

94.5

67.5

IMPROVEMENT

8.2%

12.8%

2.4

-2.4

With Hughes in the rotation, the New York Yankees become even bigger favorites in the AL East and have the highest forecasted playoff probability in baseball. New York is now projected to win nearly 97 games with a 72 percent chance to win the division. That is a +2.4 win increase and a substantial 12.8 percent boost in the division probability compared to having Chamberlain in the rotation.

Hughes started seven games in 2009 before grabbing hold of the 8th inning set-up role. As a reliever, he blossomed striking out more than 10 batters per nine innings and cutting down on his walks. His much-discussed teammate Chamberlain will now move back to the bullpen, where he will serve as the eighth-inning setup man for closer Mariano Rivera(notes). While Hughes could be expected to regress some as a starter from his stellar 2009 numbers with the expanded role, Chamberlain should perform much better out of the bullpen. AccuScore projections show this is a smart decision by Girardi.