- Full name John Rhyne Hughes
- Born 09/09/1983 in Picayune, MS
- Profile Ht.: 6'2" / Wt.: 215 / Bats: L / Throws: L
- School Pearl River CC
- Debut 04/24/2010
Drafted in the 8th round (225th overall) by the Tampa Bay Rays in 2004 (signed for $275,000).
View Draft ReportOF Rhyne Hughes had 18 homers this spring and was a prime candidate to be the state's juco player of the year. A part-time pitcher, he has enough arm for right field. He has a college-ready bat and projects to hit for at least average power with a strong lefthanded swing.
Organization Prospect Rankings
Hughes was drafted by the Pirates in the 50th round in 2003 and committed to Mississippi before leading Division II juco players with 18 homers in 2004. After turning down Pittsburgh as a draft-and-follow, he signed with the Rays but hit just .250 with 11 homers in his first two pro seasons. He became one of the system's biggest surprises in 2008, leading the Florida State League in batting until he was promoted to Double-A at the end of July. FSL observers compared him to Keith Hernandez and James Loney, and managers rated him as the best defensive first baseman in the circuit. Hughes works the count until he gets a pitch he can handle, preferring stuff on the outer half that he can drive to the opposite field. He's strong but he may need to pull the ball more often to provide the power teams want at first base. Though he has below-average speed, he moves well and has soft hands at first base. A two-way player in junior college, he also has a strong arm for his position. Hughes was hit in the face by a pitch and missed the last week of the season, but he's fine now and will return to Double-A to start 2008.
Minor League Top Prospects
The surprise favorite of managers around the league was a 23-year-old first baseman. Skippers liked Hughes' batting eye and advanced approach, which resulted in the FSL batting title (.329). He drew comparisons to Keith Hernandez and James Loney. Hughes worked counts until he got a pitch he could drive, usually something on the outside of the plate that he hammered to left field. If a pitcher tried to bust him inside, he would foul off the pitch until he got one he liked. He's a below-average runner, but he's fluid and shows soft hands at first base. The big question about Hughes is whether he'll have enough pop for a first baseman. His all-fields approach isn't conducive to homers, though he has some natural strength and has shown gap power.
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Defensive 1B in the Florida State League in 2007