Drew Hutchison Will Win The 5th Starter Job
Hutchison looked great during his first start of the spring, an intrasquad match-up where he faced off against fellow 5th starter competitor Marcus Stroman. He’s got a great track record in the minor leagues and was enjoying a fine rookie season in 2012 when Tommy John stepped in the way, posting a respectable 5-3 record, a 4.60 ERA, and a 7.5 K/9 ratio in 11 starts. His minor league track record profiles him as a strike-thrower and he has a solid repertoire of pitches to pull from (Fastball, Change-up, Slider) that will help him succeed at the big level.
Why will he win the job?
He’s arguably more advanced that Kyle Drabek, both in development and in his return from Tommy John. Toronto also saw a lot more of Esmil Rogers than they truly cared to in 2013, something they would like to avoid in 2014. That leaves Stroman and Todd Redmond as the biggest points of competition. However, while they aren’t coming right out and saying it, the Blue Jays would prefer that both Stroman and Sean Nolin return to the minors, getting a look at Triple-A hitters before facing live bats in the Major Leagues consistently. As for Redmond, he gave the Blue Jays a lot in 2013, but there’s a reason he struggled to get his opportunity at the big league level, and it is doubtful he’d be able to duplicate the magic again in 2014.