I would have rushed to make a post about it when word broke last night that Drew Hutchison was getting the call to the Majors– after just 31.2 innings in Double-A– to start for the Jays on Saturday in Kansas City, but… we all kind of knew this was going to happen, didn’t we?
It may be crazily early in his pro career to hand the ball to Hutchison, but it certainly seemed– to me, at least– like a thing that was going to happen, especially given the success Henderson Alvarez has had (last night not withstanding), and the talk we’d heard from the likes of John Farrell and Alex Anthopoulos about being OK with prospects “tightening up” certain pitches in the Majors, as long as they have the ability to succeed there already, without stunting their development.
At a whole 88 innings, Alvarez had a much heftier Double-A resume when he got the call, but he also was essentially a two-pitch pitcher, whereas Hutchison has a fastball that, according to Kevin Goldstien’s report on him today for ESPN.com, “is just a tick above-average in terms of velocity, sitting in the low 90s, but it plays up thanks to excellent movement and his ability to work all four quadrants of the strike zone with it.” He also has “a decent slider and a very good changeup that is his put-away offering.”
And like Alvarez, command is his calling card, and one of the main reasons the Jays believe he’ll be able to survive in the Majors, and– let’s be honest– gives them the best chance to win of any of the other fifth-starter options that were available to them. We often talk about how rushing prospects to the Majors too quickly– say, Travis Snider– can be detrimental to their development, so it’s hard not to have some trepidation about this move, but based on everything we’ve heard the club say about him, and how comfortable he’s looked against big league lineups the times he’s faced them in Spring Training, Hutchison doesn’t seem like a terrible bet to handle it.
Y’know, at least until he runs into Texas three starts from now, assuming he keeps the job. (Incidentally, I’ll be in Texas then, when the Rangers come here to visit the Jays, so I’m going to be taking the ol’ Jays hat into enemy territory, and reporting from the best Rangers bar I can find in Austin.)
On that subject, I don’t think there’s any reason to think Hutchison won’t keep the job. I mean, if they’re comfortable calling him up now, all he’s got to do is hold his own. Call me a hopeless optimist, but I see it happening, frankly. Goldstein is in agreement, seeing him as having “a good chance to stick as Toronto’s No. 5 starter in 2012.” Though, I suppose part of my belief there is also because I kinda don’t see how, with this following the potential emergence of Kyle Drabek, Dustin McGowan isn’t going to end up the sixth starter on this club real soon, rendering his extension all the more inex-fucking-plicable, and when that happens it’s gonna feel oddly good. Because, y’know, I’m a dick that way.
(In case you hadn’t heard, to make room for Hutchison on the 40-man Jesse Litsch was moved from the 15-day to the 60-day DL, while Evan Crawford was optioned back to New Hampshire to clear a spot on the active roster.)
Image via Jays Journal / Daniel Shirley-US PRESSWIRE