Taking a Look at David Huff Can’t Hurt
By Scott Andes
The Dodgers recently announced that seventeen non roster players were signed and given invites to major league spring training. Of those seventeen one is veteran left handed starter/reliever David Huff. Let’s take a quick look at Huff and see if he could possibly help out in the bullpen this year.
Huff is 30-years old and originally from Huntington Beach, California. He went to
Edison high school, and attended three different schools out here in southern California. He attended Cypress College, UCLA, and the University of California at Irvine.
New York Yankees relief pitcher David Huff (55) greets catcher Brian McCann (34) after the game against the Detroit Tigers at Yankees Stadium. Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
Huff was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the first round (39th overall pick) of the 2006 amateur draft. He did not make his major league debut until 2009 at the age of 24, when he would join the Indian’s rotation. He was actually first drafted by the Angels in 2003, and then the Phillies in 2005, but chose to forgo playing professionally to finish school. After he finished school, he wasn’t officially signed until 2006 when the Indians took him.
During his years in the minors, Huff posted a 48-27 record with a 3.76 ERA, and a 7.0 strikeout per nine rate. His control was very good, as he also posted a 2.4 walk per nine rate. Huff’s best year in the minor leagues was perhaps 2008 when he put up an 11-5 record, and a 2.52 ERA with 143 whiffs and 29 walks combined between Cleveland’s double-A and triple-A affiliates.
Huff was a starting pitcher early in his career. But after 2010 he became more of a spot starter, long man type of a hurler as he started just six major league games after the 2011 season. However, he continued to regularly pitch as a starter in the minors up until last season.
Huff has bounced between the majors and the minors while with all of his clubs on and off up until this last season. In his first three seasons in Cleveland he struggled as a full time starting pitcher in the back half of the Tribe’s rotation. He posted an 11-8 record, and 5.61 ERA with an 11.2 hits per nine rate in his first season in 2009. He allowed 159 hits in his 128 innings of work.
The struggles continued for him in 2010 as he posted a 2-11 record, and 6.21 ERA in 15 starts. The advanced metrics agreed that his work was not very good in those early seasons. He put up an ERA+ of 76 and 64 between 2009-2010, and FIPs of 4.69 and 5.83 respectively.
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Huff pitched in just 11 games in 2011 for Cleveland, starting ten of those games, and splitting the rest of his time between their triple-A affiliate and the majors. Huff posted an ERA of 4.09 and lowered his walk rate to 3.0.
Huff pitched in just six games for the Indians in 2012, but saw better results with a 3.38 ERA and 19 whiffs against just five walks. After pitching in just three games for Cleveland in 2013, Huff was placed on waivers and claimed by the Yankees.
Huff was 3-1 with a 4.67 ERA in 11 games with New York. After the 2013 season, Huff was purchased by the Giants in January of 2014. His brief stint with the Giants was not very good. He pitched in 16 games in San Francisco, all in relief. As a Giant he was 1-0 with a 6.30 ERA, and allowed 14 earned runs in 20 frames.
In June of 2014, the Giants sold Huff back to the Yankees. Once he was back in New York he finished strong. In 30 games for the Yankees in 2014, Huff posted a 3-1 record, and a 1.85 ERA in 39 innings pitched.
Overall Huff has posted a 25-28 record, with a 5.02 ERA and 4.77 FIP in 115 Major League games. During his six Major League seasons he has made 54 starts. He’s whiffed 227 and walked 129.
Call to the Pen
Back in the days when Huff was with the Indians he had projected as a back end of the rotation guy. Scouts saw him as a solid number three or four pitcher. Huff has a good slider, which profiles as his best pitch. He also throws a changeup and a fastball around 87-92. His fastball is not rated highly, but he has normally demonstrated good control. That seems to be a strength for him. His career major league walk per nine rate is a solid 3.0.
His career platoon splits are not impressive though. He’s allowed left handers to hit at a .300/.366/.474 clip with an .840 OPS against. Right handers have batted .278 against him with a .791 OPS.
Huff has been much better as a reliever though. You never know, he could provide additional depth as long man or spot starter for the pitching rich Dodgers. For minimum salary Huff can’t cost the Dodgers anything as a low buy, no-risk option. Huff has a 3.34 career ERA as a reliever and 5.57 as a starter. The veteran hurler is 6’2 and weighs 215 pounds. You can also find Huff on twitter at twitter.com/theREALdavehuff.