Pirates Notes: Drew Hutchison Makes His Debut

PITTSBURGH – Pirates manager Clint Hurdle talked about the importance of finding a “competitive comfort zone” for Drew Hutchison as he makes his Pirates debut tonight against the Reds at PNC Park.

“We were looking to give him the ball in some shape, form, or fashion while he was here,” said Hurdle, noting that the two innings that Trevor Williams pitched on Wednesday night paved the way for Hutchison to get the start tonight.

Our own Brian Peloza wrote about Hutchison’s adjustment to the Pirates organization shortly after he was acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays for Francisco Liriano, Harold Ramirez, and Reese McGuire. Hurdle mentioned that ongoing adjustment process and shared his perspective on some of the reports that Indianapolis coaching staff has shared with their major league counterparts.

“The overall pitch-ability was solid; [it] seemed like one inning was getting complicated,” Hurdle said. “When things would start to move in a wrong direction, for whatever reason, he wasn’t able to stop it.”

Hutchison allowed multiple runs in at least one inning in four of his seven starts with Indianapolis, and his strikeout-to-walk ratio of 1.87 was below expectations for a starting pitcher. He did perform well in his final Triple-A start last Saturday, throwing 6.1 innings with four hits and one walk while striking out five.

Though Hutchison does have a two-seam fastball, he does not fit the typical ground-ball generating profile that the Pirates seem to prefer when acquiring pitchers. Since reaching Double-A, Hutchison has found more outs in the air than on the ground, and his 38.7% career ground ball rate in the major leagues is well below the Pirates’ team average this year (47.4%).

Hutchison throws his four-seam and two-seam fastballs at roughly the same speed (91-93 MPH), and does the same with his slider and changeup (84-86 MPH). His circle changeup moves like a split-fingered fastball, with horizontal and vertical movement very similar to his two-seam fastball.

Whether Hutchison can consistently pitch at an above-average level in the major leagues remains to be seen. He posted a 4.93 ERA (4.23 FIP/4.01 xFIP) in 73 starts with the Blue Jays over parts of five seasons, and a 6.54 FIP in his three major league starts earlier this season.

Against NL teams, Hutchison has allowed a .245/.295/.436 line in eight career starts, with 46 strikeouts and 11 walks. This will be his first career appearance at PNC Park, and also his first appearance against the Cincinnati Reds.

Marte Remains Day-to-Day

According to Clint Hurdle, Starling Marte was not available off the bench for last night’s game, and Hurdle was not yet aware if Marte has been deemed well enough to appear in some capacity during tonight’s game. He last played on Monday night against the Cardinals.

By both versions wins above replacement, Marte has been the Pirates’ most valuable player this season (4.8 bWAR, 3.9 fWAR), and is one of three Pirates—Gregory Polanco and David Freese are the others—to contribute value at the plate, on the bases, and in the field.

Feliz and Schugel Not Yet Ready

Hurdle also confirmed that pitchers Neftali Feliz and A.J. Schugel will not be available out of the bullpen for tonight’s game. Both pitchers played catch yesterday, but Hurdle did not specify a precise timetable for their return.

  • Drew Hutchison is a career minor leaguer. Hope he likes living in Indianapolis.

  • Hutch, you made an impression tonight…..not that it mattered.

  • Breaking News: Drew Hutchison is garbage and throws slow, straight and up in the zone. It was a miracle he wasn’t scored on for 3 innings. If NH truly traded two upper level prospects for him then he should probably start considering a different career path. We aren’t stupid though and, no matter how many times we are told otherwise by NH, those prospects were sold for cash. This trade may not have caused such an uproar if the fan base wasn’t lied to like a high school kid who got caught with weed. I couldn’t help but feel insulted every time Hutchison threw a 90mph fastball up and over the plate. Nothing personal Drew but, I really despise that you are wearing a Pirates jersey.

    • can u imagine this guy up against the cubs or cards? shellacking is a word that comes to mind…..

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD
    September 10, 2016 10:33 pm

    Locke better than Hutchison?
    Sadly, you may be right about that….
    I think Glasnow is ready now, but he had a physical issue during his second major league start, which set him back. But, he should be getting these September starts, not a 26 year old AAAA pitcher who struggled in AAA. Glasnow is part of the future, Hutchison is very likely NOT part of the team’s future.

  • Ironic. Tonight was supposed to be Francisco Liriano bobble head night.

    • They traded the liriano bobbleheads to Toronto along with a PTBNL for the cost of the bobbleheads in return I think.

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD
    September 10, 2016 9:58 pm

    Now, if NH was really honest (and I have my doubts) when he claimed that the Pirates were “following Hutchison for years” and trying to defend his absurd trade, then you have to question is ability to judge talent. So which is it?
    For those of you who still ridiculously still believe that Glasnow is not “ready”, was Hutchison more ready? He was mediocre in AAA, while Glasnow dominated AAA all year. Well, get used to Hutchison being in the rotation, because NH will make sure he is in the 2017 starting rotation come April, even if he gets shelled all Spring.
    I just realized – Locke has been the Pirates best pitcher tonight – now that is pathetic!
    I am telling you, we need a new GM – he is going to destroy this organization if he stays in charge for another 2 years….

  • 97-100mph upside is one thing….91-92? looks like a middle reliever type to me…2-3 innings good – second time through the order, look out loretta

  • Would have sooner seen glasnow start, but we love our reclamation projects to much to let a young guy with tons of upside get some work in..

  • Can’t believe how shitty Hutchison’s stuff looks. Forget the results, they aren’t important. Flat 91-92 mph fastball, shitty slider. He had much better stuff in 2014.

    • BuccosFanStuckinMD
      September 10, 2016 9:59 pm

      Then you haven’t seen him pitch in the AL much – because what you saw tonight has been Hutchison’s career to date…

      • Seen a number of his starts. Didn’t look this bad

        • BuccosFanStuckinMD
          September 10, 2016 10:34 pm

          His ERA last year in Toronto was north of 5.00….and I’ve seen the Orioles light him up more than once. He’s good for about one trip through a lineup, after that he gets hit hard and often….

  • rightie with a 91mph fastball – wow..u cant find guys like him everyday….oh wait, yes u can

  • Between PSU bungling that last minute drive and Drew H pitching tonight, it has been a Saturday to fooget.