So… It’s Hutchison

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, “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

Comments (105)

  1. I fully agree with you here, Stoeten.

    It’s going to be exciting to watch the guy, but I do feel a little nervous bringing him up this early. He’s 21 right?

    If he sticks (hopefully), it WOULD be nice have have 6 potential starters you could count on once McGowan comes back (hopefully).

  2. BTW – totally off topic. Travis has a new favoutire meal: Ya think I didn’t? #3peat #MeatsDontClash #getmegoin #thatcantberealcheese

  3. @Kevin_Goldstein Hutchinson is so not ready. RT @ryanpicks: @Kevin_Goldstein would you start drew hutchison over brett cecil once the season begins? #jays

    If the GM had addressed the team’s biggest need over the offseason he wouldn’t have to rush a kid with 6 starts above A ball to the majors.

    • While it’s true that Hutchison is being rushed, and it’s also true that the Jays could have used another established starting pitcher (or two), your suggestion that the GM didn’t address this issue is almost definitely wrong.

      There is a difference between not addressing an issue and not signing/trading for a starting pitcher. I am quite confident that AA did everything in his power to obtain a starter, at a reasonable, affordable price.

      It wouldn’t have been wise to mortgage the farm system for Latos or Gonzalez. That would have gotten them a starter, prevented them from having to call up Hutchison on April 19th, but it would not have been smart for the franchise.

      My point is that AA is great and his decision making deserves deference.

      • The rotation consists of Romero, Morrow, Alvarez, Drabek, and Hutchison right now. Yeah, I’d say adding a pitcher is still a pretty huge need.

      • I like how people claim it wouldn’t have been wise to acquire guys like Latos, Gonzalez, or Garza without having a clue as to what the price may have been.

        “There is a difference between not addressing an issue and not signing/trading for a starting pitcher”

        It’s one thing to say he tried to address the issue and decided the price isn’t worth it, but your statement is just flat out wrong.

        • There is only DO or DO NOT…there is no TRY.


          • So AA tried McGowan, tried Carreno, tried Laffy and now he will try Hutchison and it isn’t even May!!. He still hasn’t done anything. Yes the tight wad Jays should have spent some money on a real starter, like other big League clubs. I guess they don’t have a fucking clue either

        • We saw what the price was for those three via the prices other teams paid for them. The equivalent amount of talent we’d have had to give up was too much at this stage of the rebuild.

          • They’d have all (ALL!!!) wanted Lawrie. Not making those silly horse-before-the-carriage trades was a very smart baseball move by baseball ninja AA.

            Or, put more succinctly… No fucking way Jose! Or really, in this case: No fucking way Brett!

        • It is hard to imagine that AA would’ve given up anything less than an A-prospect (D’Arnaud, Gose, Marisnick) and at least one B-prospect (Norris, Syndergaard, Nicolino) and then a couple throw-ins. Or trade the B-level depth completely for Gonzalez/Latos/Garza. What the price “might have been” is very very clear from the resulting trades this winter.

    • Thanks Griffin.

      Wanna date that quote? (it’s from April 2nd… as in before Hutchison’s milb season started). Not to say that 16 innings pitched is significant, but the numbers he put up there in those 3 starts (combined with his starts from last year) were at least somewhat telling about his abilities at that level.

      • I didn’t think I needed to date the quote considering the question did it itself. And no, his 3 starts at the level didn’t tell the Jays anything about his abilities at the level that they didn’t already know in the spring.

    • Good point. We could have used a veteran #3 or 4 starter free agent.

  4. What about Santos? Didn’t Crawford take his spot?

  5. Stoeten, in terms of Rangers’ bar locations, you might want to try “Third Base”, “The Local”, or “Champions”, or possibly “The Tavern” or “Posse East”.

    If you want the company of a jays fan in enemy territory, let me know. It is not often that I am not the only jays fan in a bar.

    PS – Austin is awesome. Enjoy.

  6. Awesome…totally fucking watching this game, regardless of my cottage plans. Satty is coming with me!

  7. i don’t think he plays the season here, but it won’t be a spot start either. (of course, i’m also being optimistic enough to expect deadline buying. =)

  8. or Doc’s MotorWorks! was there last year watching the Rangers World Series games and it was amazing… TVs on the amazing patio? yes please.

  9. @NorthYork,

    They’ve been boned up over Hutch for quite a while. Maybe AA is really confident and wanting him up all along?

    • From everything we’ve been hearing about Hutchison from Farrell all winter and spring he was probably the safest bet. Regardless of experience, the most important thing is whether he can command his pitches or not. If he trusts his catcher on what to throw and when he should be fine.

      Too many people want these top notch pitching prospects to stay in the minors forever. Unlike a hitter there’s usually a finite amount of pitches in an arm. Why continue to waste them against competition they’re obviously overpowering? Quite frankly I don’t understand why they are babying guys like Syndergaard and Niccolino so much in low A ball. Both of them could probably start and do well in AA or at least Dunedin. I do understand the innings limit aspect of it but to me it’s another reason that you want the limited amount of innings to be against worthwhile competition.

    • Then why not open the season with Hutchison in the rotation? Why the charades?

      • Only management can tell you the reason. Maybe it’s because they wanted him to get a few more innings in at AA since he was kept on a low innnigs count in spring training. That would be my best guess, He never went more than 3-4 innings at any point.

        Honestly I think if McGuire and Jenkins hadn’t shit the bed to start the season at AA one of them would have got the call imo. Both gave up a ton of homers which screams command issues. Thankfully McGuire turned things around in his last start but it was obviously too late by then for a turn here right now. Both of them actually looked pretty good in spring training.

        • So now you’re saying Hutchison isn’t ready, he’s just MORE ready than our other mediocre options? Great.

          • No I think he’s ready, he’s dominated at every level he’s played at.

            That said, at least management is going for what they feel is the best option for winning at the major league level. If this was June and the Jays were 10 games behind already and out of it then maybe they take the more prudent option because it wouldn’t matter. This team is trying to capitalize on all the hype and good will from the spring. A good record to start goes a long way towards this.

          • Yeah, i’ve kinda gone with the premise of: If they could have acquired a Latos type since he was available depending on the price, sure he’d have done it, *but* if the price was too much, he was fairly confident in some of the arms coming (or righting themselves) in the first 3 months of the season.

          • …I’m just not a believer that Anthopoulos would rush or be overly risky with the development of high-end prospect talent. So I assume he’s quite confident in what they’re doing with Hutchison. They’ve had a few weeks, if they weren’t comfy with this, they could have easily rigged this to have someone else up instead.

  10. With all due respect to Goldstein, I have a lot more faith in the team’s appraisal of Hutchison’s ‘readiness’ than his.

    • With all due respect, Goldstein has a level of objectivity way above the Jays on this. And it’s not like the Jays have deemed Hutchison ready as much as they’ve deemed him the least not-ready non-cannon-fodder option they have. Bit of a difference.

      • Do we know if that’s the what they’ve deemed him? Not to say he is or isn’t ready, but what if the team really thinks he is? We can’t possibly know that answer, but the level of praise given to him wasn’t given just in case.

        Also AA doesn’t really have a history of calling guys up before they’re ready. How long did he wait to bring up Lawrie? (and yes, that could have just been Super 2 stuff, but still, they weren’t in a hurry)

        Ultimately, I assume AA is smart enough to know what he has in Hutchison and I don’t think he’d risk ruining one of his top prospects.

        • From AA’s comments it sounds like they might rather see Hutchison throw more innings in AA but that he is in no way going to be harmed from a developmental standpoint.

          So what we see may not be the 100% finished product…but that he’s close enough, fairly polished & think he can handle it without getting his head handed to him.

        • Right, because we’ve never seen AA praise a guy only to trade him minutes later. Oh wait – what happened to Wallace, Stewart, and Molina again?

          • Offering praise and then trading a player doesn’t mean the praise wasn’t warranted.

          • @Jim


            Except for Nestor Molina’s case, it was unjustified. Small sample size aside, he’s looked terrible so far this season.

        • “”Do we know if that’s the what they’ve deemed him? Not to say he is or isn’t ready, but what if the team really thinks he is? We can’t possibly know that answer, but the level of praise given to him wasn’t given just in case.”

          This is a great point I think.

          “With all due respect, Goldstein has a level of objectivity way above the Jays on this. ”

          True – but (you would assume) that the Jays also have a great deal more information on Hutchinson.

  11. I’m not sure that everyone knew it was going to be Hutchison, we just knew it was Hutchison or Chavez. Plus a few news outlets were running stories yesterday basically playing up the Chavez angle probably because he was the only one actually named by Farrell.

    This really seems ridiculously early. Although I love seeing true talent playing I wouldn’t have minded if they brought up Chavez for 2 or 3 spot starts until McGowan is ready, or failing that, they could get Joel Carreno on line with the open spot. To me it doesn’t make sense for Hutchison to make these starts and be returned to AA. I’d really rather not see them yo-yo their top prospects.

    • I don’t know… I never really believed it would be Chavez.

      • Chavez never had a chance. They had to tell the media something, and didn’t want to announce it was Hutchison while they were still trying to pick up some retread like Laffey or JoJo for the job. So they went with Hutchison OR Chavez, knowing that they don’t give a fuck about Chavez and that Hutchison would realize if he didn’t get the call that it was because they acquired someone else in the interim.

      • After seeing that picture of Chavez, I really did not want it to be him at all by any chance. *Vote for Pedro*

  12. Hard to say that Hutchison is going to give them the best chance to win Saturday…he’s barely pitched above high A ball. Either one of Villanueva and Perez probably should have been the choice here.

    Still, I’m excited that I’ll be in attendance for his MLB debut tomorrow.

    • I don’t get why they didn’t use the 6-2 blowout to push Perez to 35+ pitches (he was already at 2 innings, 20 pitches) and let him throw 65-75 pitches tonight, keeping Crawford as the 2nd LHP.

      Sure beats rushing a kid because you didn’t fill your biggest hole in the winter.

      • Why take him out of a role he’s excelling at and put him back in one where he was mediocre at best last year? HIs first start was good the second one was ok but allowed 9 runners in 5 IP and the last two were shitacular.

        The Jays don’t need to resort to these half-assed options this year with the starters they have in the minors.

        • Because rushing prospects to fill holes in April is not a smart idea.

        • i think it’s because Perez looked really, really good. so good that you gotta at least consider it.

          • The problem is that a second or third time through the lineup he’s not nearly as effective. People mistake his short-inning success with the ability to do that over 6 innings consistently. He’s throwing up to 95 now because he knows it’s only going to be for an inning or two.

        • i would usually agree with that, but the difference between this year and last is that Perez has gone down to three pitches from 5 last year which is a formula that has worked for sp.’s before (current ex. drabek).

          also, remember that he is a converted outfielder, so the jump in velocity could be a result in him just gaining arm strength and/or just getting better at pitching.

          these argument are not too strong on their own, but when you add it to how really,really good he looked it has me giving the nod to Perez.

          just say’n

  13. You’re excited? Feel these nipples!

  14. Hutch looks and sounds like he is ready so why waste his current skill set and health in the minors lighting kids up? There are only so many bullets in a gun, why waste em shooting a targets.

  15. i have a feeling that this was the plan all along, and shows to me that AA was not overly interested in “acquiring a veteran arm” in the offseason (with the possible exception of him coming across a really goos deal).

    it’s clear that spots 3 to 5 are for all the young arms ( and special project mcgowan) to do their thing both at and below the mlb level. perform and take it, or go back down and somebody else gets a shot.

    i think we can safley say that that the days off eveland, jojo, laffey, Ohka, and towers are now officially gone.

    personally i love it. getting a big league spot in the rotation will now be based on performance, and push these athletes to suceed with constant competition.

    so, i will officially declare this “SCRAP HEAP PITCHER FREE DAY”. this day april 20th, should be celebrated every year along with “VERNON WELLS MIRACLE TRADE DAY” on january 21.

    so celebrate this great day, the history books of the future* of sports management graduate MBA classes will.

    * (yes i know the irony of that staement)

    • And Weed smoking day!!!

      • a beautiful contrast between a series of decisions that have been strategized and calculated over the course of 2 and half years within a macro grand design that has been challenged by regulated market forces, and the perils of human capital compared to a practice that robs one of their own ambition.

        the poetry of this brings a tear to my eye.

    • Good post. It’s about time we see what’s in the minors. I hate scrap heap pitchers. Is Jo Jo even playing anywhere?

  16. Gonzalez would have cost a package involving Syndergaard.

    Latos would have cost Alvarez.

    Pineda would have cost Lawrie.

    AA did the right thing by standing pat on the above trade options.

    Where the Jays missed the boat is with Darvish. But at 6 years and over $110M, it remains a big risk.

    And CJ Wilson simply wasn’t worth the money he got from the Angels, who didn’t give a shit about overpaying for a division rival’s so-called ace.

    In fairness, while the Jays could have done something in the past off-season, given the above parameters, let’s be realistic and give AA credit where it is due. He didn’t want to pull the trigger on a deal where its an overpay. The team has not reached the point where its feasible to make an overpay move to get you over the top.

    • I would have preferred Wilson over Darvish any day. Less money, less years, Darvish is yet to prove he’s anywhere as good as Wilson in the major leagues yet, so there’s far less risk as well. As for the money he had a 4.6 fWAR and 5.9 fWAR in his two full years as a starter. Looking at the contract Matt Cain just signed $15 million AAV is going to be a steal if the results are anywhere between those two seasons going forward. That said with the pitching that’s on it’s way a big bat would have been a better investment long-term imo considering there’s nothing juicy on the horizon in terms of free agents until 2014 and none of the Jays minor league prospects are close to being that in the next two years.

  17. This is a good move by the Jays. They have to see what this guy can do and see if he can develop into something good.

  18. How would you guys have felt if they gave the start to Perez?

    Personally I would have liked that move. It’s only been a few games, but he looks great.

  19. I link to Sons of Sam Horn a lot, but..

    If you guys want to feel better about the Jays 6-6 start, take a look at how Red Sox fans are feeling while on the verge of going 4 – 9.

    It’s great.

  20. The odds are very good that by the time McGowan is ready to go, someone else in the rotation will have been injured.

    You can never have too many pitchers.

  21. From the way this team is pitching and hitting the last two weeks, I’ll take anyone to replace the injured or the useless, I don’t care if they are from Single-A!!!!

  22. “I know! He’s ready!”

    “No, I know better! He’s not ready!”

    Who knows… let’s just see how he does. if he fails, send him back down, bring someone else up. Does anyone actually think one or two MLB blow ups (if they happen) will ruin this kid’s career? If it does, what would that tell you about him?

    It’ll be fun to watch him try and compete. All I care is that he throws strikes. If he gets hit around, so be it. Just don’t kill yourself with BBs.

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