Archive for the ‘Drew Hutchison’ Category

hutchmemorialday

I don’t really want to be the voice of doom and gloom in the middle of everybody’s good time here, but this afternoon Chris Toman alerted us to something maybe a little concerning in Drew Hutchison’s velocity, which is the fact that it’s sinking.

I’m in no position to suggest we have any clue what this means, but we can see a visual representation of his game-by-game average velocity in this chart from his page at Brooks Baseball.

Brooksbaseball-Chart

The downward trend is evident, obviously, but it maybe doesn’t look quite as alarming above as it does when you see the actual numbers written out. Here are his last five starts:

94.3 (@PHI, 5/6/14)
94.1 (vs. ANA, 5/11/14)
94.0 (@TEX, 5/16/14)
92.5 (@BOS, 5/21/14)
91.9 (vs. TAM, 5/26/14)

As you’d expect, his maximum velocity matches the trend, having dipped below 95 just once, in mid-April against Baltimore, prior to his last two starts. He topped out at 94.6 in Boston, and then 93.3 last night. So… yeah. He certainly didn’t look like himself last night, but there really isn’t a whole lot more for me to say than just that. There can be many reasons for a dip in velocity like this, and to jump to conclusions about any one of them would not just be irresponsible, it would be kind of silly.

It’s understandable that so soon after Tommy John surgery people would be worried about the health of his arm, or him taking on too much too soon, but there are reasons that even us fans — who aren’t privy to the medicals — can pretty easily rationalize why something gloomy might not at all be the case. Hutchison tossed 149.1 innings across multiple levels in 2011, for example. Plus, though the surgery he had in 2012 occurred in early August, meaning he’s well past the 18 month anniversary of the procedure, it may still take time to build up the muscles he needs in his throwing arm. Although, including his stint in the Arizona Fall League, in 2013 he threw 57 innings — not a tonne, but exactly not a small amount either. He’s fairly well beyond the surgery in other words, and has shown himself capable of logging a lot of innings in the past.

Those two facts don’t necessarily mean anything, of course, but neither does this little dip. Maybe it’s something to be worried about, maybe it’s something he’ll push through and be fine with. Maybe, as commenter Ernie Whitt suggests, he was simply trying to be more fine with his wonky command on account of how squeezed he was getting by home plate umpire Corey Blaser, and took a little something off. It’s at least something to keep our eyes on. Especially if he keeps serving meatballs like he did last night.

Update

Up for some more quelling of your fears? Here you go: the data at FanGraphs certainly looks rosier. To wit:

hutchveloFG2

The data isn’t yet available on his game log at FanGraphs, but as you can see from the above chart, which includes all eleven starts Hutchison has made this year, his velocity last night was low, but not nearly as out of line with the rest of his season as the Brooks data shows. And note the lack of sinkers for only last night’s start in the Brooks data above. Is it just a classification issue, where the sinkers are included among the fastballs, and are dragging the whole average down? I can assure you that I don’t know, but this all seemed worth pointing out, in case anyone was getting too panicked.

[Note: an earlier version of this post had Hutchison's FanGraphs game log data in it, unfortunately I was reading it backwards (because his first start of the year was also against Tampa, FYI, and also because sometimes I'm awesome like that).]

happ-clearwater

The case of J.A. Happ and his tenure with the Blue Jays certainly is a curious one.

He was acquired in a maligned trade for what is still deemed too many “prospects” in some corners, even as the players the Astros received continue to prove the Jays right in their evaluation.

He then was the saviour that all Jays fans were pining for this time a year ago, as he put in a great Spring Training while seemingly being destined for Buffalo, as Ricky Romero — the incumbent, the club insisted, until the bitter end — imploded.

Now he’s the man everybody wants out. Alex Anthopoulos has talked up the organization’s youngsters, partly out of self-preservation after doing fuck all to improve the rotation in the off-season, and that’s who fans want to see. Not J.A. Happ and his too many pitches, too few strikeouts, and supposed general mediocrity, especially now that he has begun this spring with two miserable outings (hurt though he may have been).

Even the team itself is wavering. Arden Zwelling of Sportsnet notes a tone change from Alex Anthopoulos, who now says two rotation spots may be up for grabs, admitting Happ’s early performance and sore back have caused concerns. Happ’s next start has been pushed back, according to a tweet from Mike Wilner, and the Jays aren’t saying when he’ll be on the mound next– perhaps he’s this year’s Brett Cecil or Ricky Romero, whisked away from prying eyes and getting his work in at unannounced times to keep the media from making his possible failure to make the team a bigger story than they want it to be (as if that ever works).

I don’t know, though. If he ends up returning to health and to the rotation competition in short order, frankly, I’m not sure the kids are necessarily as much better than a lot of fans think they’re going to be. But the bigger question is: better than what? Just who is J.A. Happ, and how do we get a handle on what we think he might bring to the Jays, given the ebbs and flows of his career since he was brought here in the most boring ten-player deal in history?

It’s an interesting question…

Read the rest of this entry »

Welp. That about does it. After valiantly fighting and attempting to rehab his nagging elbow injury, 21-year old Jays starter Drew Hutchison says “uncle” and will undergo Tommy John surgery this week, as reported by Grumbly Gus aka Bob Elliott.

The timetable for Hutchison now looks like a return in time for the 2014 season, he incredulously typed. There was talk Hutch may return to throwing as recently as mid-July but now he is very likely lost until Spring Training 2014.

Read the rest of this entry »

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

Greetings From Dunedin
Welcome back to your weekly fix of Blue Jays prospecty goodness. I decided to try something new this week: if you scroll down to the end of this article, you’ll see organization leaders in several hitting and pitching categories (current through games of April 17). If you like seeing them every week, let me know. If enough people are interested in them, I’ll work on a better way of displaying the leaderboard tables.

Also, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that you’re now able to follow the statistics of Toronto’s top 20 prospects (as ranked by Kevin Goldstein) over at Baseball Prospectus’ new Top 11 Prospects Tracker.

(Note: to conserve pixels, I won’t be running the Top 30 Prospects list every week, but I will include a link to the list in each post) Read the rest of this entry »

The Jays would-be starter today, Henderson Alvarez, was shielded from the prying eyes of the Boston Red Sox regulars, so he ended up playing in a minor league game against the High-A Tampa Yankees. Predictably, things went well, as– according to a Mike Wilner tweet– he went seven innings, allowing just two hits, no walks, and striking out four while throwing 72 pitches, 57 of which went for strikes, and topping out at 95.

It’s a level of dominance to be expected from a Major League pitcher against that level of competition, yes. But Wilner gives a little perspective:

Of course, with Alvarez dominating guys from A-ball, somebody had to face the Red Sox regulars (Ellsbury, Pedroia, Gonzalez, Ortiz, etc.). That task went to Drew “15 innings above A-ball” Hutchison, who went four innings, giving up four hits, one walk, and just one run, striking out two.

Far more importantly, though, he hit Kevin Youkilis with a pitch. HOW CAN YOU NOT LIKE THIS GUY???

Far be it from me to make too much of a deal of a comment Alex Anthopoulos made that I simply don’t have the perfectly-reasonable explanation for– or… actually… that kinda sounds exactly like something I’d do– but I was struck by something the Jays GM said about prospect Drew Hutchison during a scrum with the media after yesterday’s Spring Training win over the Phillies.

Asked, as heard in an audio clip posted by Wilner at Miked Up, about non-40-man guys who are surprisingly still in camp– Jon Diaz, Yan Gomes, and Drew Hutchison– Anthopoulos explained that the first two are mainly still around because of their roles. They’re looked upon as utility-type bench players, the GM says, because they’re serving that role at this point in camp as well.

“Hutch,” he continued, “is more the fact that we’re going to watch his innings. Normally he would be sent out, if he was going to be built up to five innings and so on, but we’re going to probably keep his innings down at the beginning of the year– two to three innings, for the sake of argument. We haven’t finalized all that yet. He’s on a five man swing– a five man rotation– right now. He’s up to three innings, he’s not going to go beyond that [for now]. So, it doesn’t do him any harm to be here, he’s not on the 40, so if anything, guys like Deck and Jenkins have a little more rope to get built up, and that’s why they needed to get down there, to be built up a little bit more.”

Interesting. Especially since Drew Hutchison threw 149.1 innings last year, between A-ball, high-A and double-A, while McGuire threw just 125.1, and averaged practically the same number of innings per appearance (though Jenkins, it should be noted, tossed 167.2 innings .

So… what exactly is the deal there? Are the Jays simply planning ahead for Hutchison having an extended season by way of a September call-up? With the expectation that he’s going to be getting regular turns in the big league rotation? Or maybe just saving his bullets to help them in some kind of a stretch run?

I’m not saying I’m opposed to it or anything, I’m just a little surprised by the plan. Have I missed something here?