Archive for the ‘Drew Hutchison’ Category

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…

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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.

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Toronto Blue Jays fans are sensitive when it comes to Dustin McGowan, and it’s understandable why. He’s held his course down a very tough road, and for the most part it’s been behind the scenes. In fact, over the last four seasons, McGowan has made a grand total of four appearances in front of the hometown crowd. This, after winning us over with glimpses of brilliance in his previous two seasons as a starter.

Viewing his appearances objectively or questioning the contract extension that was handed to him have become akin to kicking the crutch out from under Tiny Tim.

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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.

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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?