Why Blue Jays Shouldn’t Give Up On Hutchison
The Blue Jays have gotten calls on starter Drew Hutchison, but at this point in his career and given the organization’s needs, he isn’t a logical piece to move
Put down the phones! It’s not the time to give up on Drew Hutchison! The 25 year old Blue Jays starting pitcher gained a lot of talk on Wednesday at the MLB Winter Meetings in Nashville.
The trade market has been interesting so far this offseason. If you’re not the Diamondbacks or Mariners, it doesn’t seem like many teams are making moves. The pitching market has proven to be extremely expensive for some teams, with lower end arms like John Axford going for 2yr/10mil, and Mark Lowe signing above that. Even trading for pitching has cost teams a lot of assets. Shelby Miller, who granted is a very good pitcher, was traded to the Diamondbacks for Ender Inciarte, Aaron Blair, and 2015 first overall pick Dansby Swanson. It seems like pitching has been priced at a more premium value this offseason compared to other years.
With Drew Hutchison coming off a shaky year, the young starting pitcher has some critics out there who are ready to wave the white flag on his potential ceiling. Other than his age (25) and price tag ($520,100 in 2015, $2.6 million projected in 2016) attached to Hutchison, lets not forget how much potential upside he could bring to the Blue Jays next season. Hutchison was drafted out of Lake Land High School in Florida, in the 15th round of the 2009 draft. Hutch would work his way up to Double-A by 2012, where he would make his first MLB start that same year.
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While Hutchison started to roll in the Majors, he would be shut down not even sixty innings into his Major League career, as Hutchison would be place on the 15-day disabled list with a sprain in his throwing arm. It would later be revealed that Hutchison would require Tommy Johns Surgery, only pitching 130 innings over the next two seasons.
After an impressive 2014 Spring Training, Hutchison would earn himself a starting spot on the Major League roster. Drew would have a lot of up and down games at the beginning of the season, but he broke through on May 16th, throwing a complete game shutout on the road against the Texas Rangers, giving up three hits, walking one, and striking out six.
This game would open the eyes of fans to see what kind of potential pitcher Hutchison was. Making thirty-two starts in 2014, Hutchison did show some promise, posting a 2.3WAR, 3.85FIP, and showing how impressive his four seam fastball could be. It was however, his 2.92BB/9, 1.12HR/9, that showed that he still had some areas to improve.
Entering the 2015 season, Hutchison would be named as the youngest Opening Day Starter in Blue Jays history. The season wouldn’t go as planned, though. His Home/Away Splits became the talking point to every Hutchison start, and the numbers started to hurt fans heads.
Hutchison 2014 Home/Away Splits:
The 2015 Home/Road splits could just be a coincidence and the product of an overall poor season, but growth from Hutchison’s 2014 season is potentially what we could expect out of him moving forward. One bad season shouldn’t define Hutchison’s career with the Blue Jays. At only twenty-five years old, even if Hutch cannot crack the opening day rotation, a year in the minors wouldn’t be the worst thing. Hutchison has proved he could be a quality arm, developing his game over the next few season is what should define his Blue Jays career.
If the price is right, and Hutchison is involved in a trade with some other Blue Jays prospects (ie. the Shelby Miller trade) for a higher quality starting pitcher, it could be hard to resist if you’re Toronto. Let’s not forget, though, that Hutchison could be a potential cornerstone piece in the middle of a rotation for years to come. If Hutchison bounces back elsewhere next year, it would most likely be a lost trade for the Blue Jays. Right now, his upside is much better suited as part of Toronto’s thin pitching depth.