Drew Hutchison Shaky In MLB Debut

Not surprisingly Drew Hutchison appeared a little nervous at times during his major league debut.  The book on Hutch has always started with his impeccable control and his minor league resume can fully support that claim.  However he struggled with his command mightily tonight and paid the price when he left a few hittable pitches over the heart of the plate.

Given the way he aggressively attacks the strike zone Hutchison will always be a guy who gives up his fair share of hits considering the hitting talent at the major league level.  Tonight against the Kansas City Royals Hutchison went 5.1 innings, giving up eight hits, five earned runs with three walks and four strikeouts. 

Mechanically he is fairly simple, though not without faults and he really seemed a bit out of sync as the game wore on when considering his declining fastball velocity.  Hutchison isn’t blessed with a huge frame typical in the modern day hurler and perhaps he simply tired down the stretch – a frequently discussed negative attribute. 

As always let’s take a look at what Hutchison throws with the velocity and movement of each pitch type.  Brooks Baseball coded basically four pitches during his start versus Kansas City – four/two seam fastball, changeup and slider.

Type Count Avg Speed Max Speed H-Break V-Break Strikes
4Seam FB 42 92.3 94.3 -7.97 9.09 23 / 54.7%
2Seam FB 34 91.3 93.6 -10.41 5.61 17 / 50.0%
Change 10 85.7 86.9 -10.35 3.50 7 / 70.0%
Slider 10 85.0 86.7 -0.36 1.03 7 / 70.0%

 Now this was his first game so some of the pitch coding might be slightly off but as you can see his pitches do contain solid movement.  His four seam fastball has more vertical break than a lot of two seam fastballs, check out my piece on Kyle Drabek for a comparison to his stuff.

Perhaps a result of an adrenaline dump or just faulty mechanics but his velocity really wavered after the 70+ pitch mark, look at the chart below:

The big blows came on two big homeruns to lefties Alex Gordon and Eric Hosmer on similar pitches (changeups) that both caught too much of the plate. 

Here is the at-bat against Alex Gordon:

Now let’s check out Eric Hosmer’s at-bat in the sixth inning:

 

Gordon cranked an 86.2 MPH changeup for a first inning homerun while Eric Hosmer belted a sixth inning jack on a 85.5 MPH change.  Both pitches were left in the sweet spot for left handed batters and were properly deposited – a lesson learned for young Hutch I am sure.

If this was an audition for a rotation spot going forward the results were mixed.  He is a strike thrower with solid movement but is his stuff so dynamic he can consistently miss enough major league bats?  I would expect the Blue Jays to give him at least one  more opportunity to show he is big league ready.  His next start would come Thursday, April 26 versus the Baltimore Orioles.

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