Former Pittsburgh Pirates’ relief pitcher Jared Hughes has announced his retirement from baseball.
During the three consecutive postseason runs the Pittsburgh Pirates had in 2013-2015 the bullpen was vital to their success. A key cog of these bullpens has announced his retirement from baseball. Right-handed relief pitcher Jared Hughes announced his departure from the game Sunday night on his Instagram.
The Pittsburgh Pirates selected Hughes with their 4th round pick in the 2006 MLB Draft. Although he was never a high ranking prospect throughout his minor league career, Hughes carved out a nice 10-year career in the bullpen. The right-hander made his debut in 2011 and cemented himself as part of the Pirate roster in 2012. Through 75.2 innings, he put up a 2.85 ERA, 4.05 FIP and 1.15 WHIP. While he only had a 15.8% strikeout rate, he put up a strong 7.0% walk rate and 0.83 HR/9.
Hughes missed a good chunk of 2013 due to injury, but returned strong in 2014 to have a 1.96 ERA, 3.99 FIP and 1.08 WHIP through 64.1 innings of work. Again, he rarely struck out batters, putting up a 14.1% strikeout rate, but allowed home runs at a 0.56 per 9 rate and induced ground balls at an outstanding 64.6% rate.
Hughes had another solid season for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2015 with a 2.28 ERA, 3.81 FIP, 1.32 WHIP with his signature high ground ball rate (63.7%), low strikeout rate (12.7%) and good HR/9 (0.4).
Hughes had his worst season in a Pirate uniform in 2016 posting a 3.03 ERA, but saw his HR/9 reach 0.91 and walk rate reach a career worst at that time of 8.6%. With the Pirates bringing in right-hander Daniel Hudson, Hughes was the odd man out in the bullpen and was released at the end of Spring Training 2017.
However, he was able to have two more productive seasons with two of the Bucs’ division rivals, that being the Milwaukee Brewers in 2017 and Cincinnati Reds in 2018. Between the two seasons, Hughes had a strong 2.41 ERA, 3.56 FIP and 1.10 WHIP. He was still great at getting ground balls (64% ground ball rate) and limiting home runs (0.52 HR/9), but saw his strikeout rate increase to 19.7%, albeit with a rise in his walk rate to 8.7%. Still, these were two of Hughes’ best seasons in his career in terms of xFIP (3.65) and SIERA (3.52).
The soft tosser bounced around with the Reds, Philedelphia Phillies and New York Mets in 2019 and 2020, but struggled in both seasons as he had an ERA above 4.00, FIP above 5.00 and -0.6 fWAR in 93.2 innings of work.
While he may not be the most popular reliever of all time, Hughes, impressievly, is 4th in groundball rate since 2000 (min. 400 innings pitched). He also served as a decent bullpen anchor for the Pirates from 2012 to 2016. We here at Rum Bunter wish Jared Hughes the best of luck in whatever comes next for him.