DREW HUTCHISON, RIGHT HANDED PITCHER
|Born: August 22, 1990
Height: 6′ 3″
Drafted: 15th Round, 460th Overall, 2009 (Blue Jays)
How Acquired: Trade from Blue Jays (for Francisco Liriano, Harold Ramirez and Reese McGuire)
High School: Lakeland (FL) Senior HS
WTM’S PLAYER PROFILE
|The Jays signed Hutchison to an above-slot bonus out of high school. He reached the majors remarkably quickly for a prep player, pitching extremely well at every stop in the minors. He had advanced command to go with an upper-80s to low-90s fastball, and a good slider and change. He also had some deception, which probably accounts in part for the solid to high K rates throughout his career. He’s added some velocity; as a major leaguer, his fastball has averaged 92-93 mph. The slider and change have been effective pitches at times. He’s a flyball pitcher and he’s had some gopher ball problems, which isn’t surprising given the Jays’ ballpark. He’s had almost no platoon split at all. The Pirates acquired Hutchison at the trade deadline in 2016.
Hutchison signed too late to play in 2009 and, in 2010, the Jays sent him to the New York-Penn League. He did well there, especially for a high school draftee in a league heavy with college draftees, then he did even better in five starts in full season ball. Baseball America rated him the Jays’ 25th best prospect after the season and also the 16th best prospect in the NYPL.
The Jays moved Hutchison up rapidly through their system and he pitched better with each promotion. That included outstanding BB and K rates. In 149.1 total innings, he allowed only four HRs. After the season, BA rated him the Jays’ ninth best prospect, as well as the 14th best in the Midwest League and the 13th best in the Florida State League.
After three starts in AA, the Jays called Hutchison up and put him in their rotation. He pitched reasonably well until he left a start on June 15 in the first inning with an elbow strain. He had Tommy John surgery in August.
Hutchison started a minor league rehab in July and then was optioned in August. He finished the season in AAA and went to the Arizona Fall League afterwards.
Hutchison spent the season in the Jays’ rotation and had a solid year. The ERA is a little misleading, as shown by his 3.82 xFIP. His BB and K rates were excellent and opponents batted only .245 against him, but he gave up a few too many doubles and HRs. Some of this undoubtedly was the ballpark in Toronto, which is an extreme doubles and HR park, and some also probably resulted from the powerful lineups in the AL East, although he didn’t have to face his own team.
Hutchison had a rough season, with opponents batting .297 against him and slugging .473. HRs were a problem, as he allowed better than one every seven innings. Some of it may have been bad luck, as he had a very high BABIP of .343 and a low strand rate of 64.5%. His BB and K rates remained solid, and his xFIP of 4.21 was much better than his ERA. Obviously, the Jays’ potent offense helped him with his W/L record.
The Jays sent Hutchison to AAA, calling him up briefly just for a couple of spot starts. He pitched well in AAA, with very good BB and K rates. At the deadline, Toronto sent him to Pittsburgh in a highly controversial trade (from the Pirates’ end) for Francisco Liriano, Reese McGuire and Harold Ramirez. Toronto picked up all of the remaining year and a third of Liriano’s contract, which explained the inclusion of the two prospects. The Pirates sent Hutchison to AAA after the trade, as they were able to retain three years of control over him by keeping him in the minors for a month. He didn’t pitch well for Indianapolis, partly due to gopher balls (one every seven innings) and an increased walk rate. The Pirates nevertheless called him up in September and he pitched poorly in one start and five relief appearances.
Hutchison faced some severe scrutiny in Pittsburgh due to the inclusion of two of the Pirates’ top ten or so prospects in the deal, as well as the fact that Toronto saw him as AAA depth. Of course, it’s not Hutchison’s fault that the Pirates gave away the prospects in order to clear Liriano’s salary. The Pirates claimed that they’d liked Hutchison for a long time, but they said the same about Jon Niese, who was a disaster.
Hutchison went into spring training as one of four candidates for the Pirates’ fifth starter job. He seemed to be the favorite all along, but his last three spring starts were horrendous and the Pirates optioned him to AAA near the end of camp. He spent the season in the Indianapolis rotation and pitched reasonably well, but not at the level you’d expect from somebody with over 70 major league starts. He didn’t have any particularly bad or outstanding stretches, just putting together mostly solid starts all year. He allowed an opponents’ batting line of 248/316/400 in a league in which the averages were 257/324/394. He did not get a September callup. At some point in September, the Pirates put him on waivers and outrighted him to AAA when he cleared.
With the Pirates, Hutchison has looked like exactly the pitcher Toronto concluded he was: a AAA depth starter. The Pirates evidently concluded the same thing, belatedly. He’ll be eligible for free agency after the World Series and will almost certainly be gone.
|Signing Bonus: $400,000
MiLB Debut: 2010
MLB Debut: 4/21/2012
MiLB FA Eligible: 2017
MLB FA Eligible: 2019
Rule 5 Eligible: Eligible
Added to 40-Man: 4/19/2012 (since removed)
Options Remaining: 0 (USED: 2013, 2016, 2017)
MLB Service Time: 3.165
|June 11, 2009: Drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 15th round, 460th overall pick; signed on August 17.
April 19, 2012: Contract purchased by the Toronto Blue Jays.
July 31, 2016: Traded by the Toronto Blue Jays to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Francisco Liriano, Harold Ramirez and Reese McGuire.
September 15, 2017: Outrighted to AAA by the Pittsburgh Pirates.