Hutchison Trying to Get Early Contact Outs

Coming off an impressive stint with the Low-A Lasing Lugnuts at the end of last season (23.2 IP 19 K 1.52 ERA), 20-year-old starting pitcher Drew Hutchison is looking to build on that while focusing on fastball command and improving his breaking pitch.

"The sinker is my main pitch, I get a lot of contact and ground balls from that," Drew Hutchison said prior to his start against Great Lakes on Wednesday. "I try to get early contact outs, either two or three pitches to get a hit or an out."

So far this season he has done a tremendous job inducing ground balls for his infielders. In 22 innings pitched over his four starts, his GO/AO ratio is 2.17.

Hutchison believes it's not only important to keep the ball at the bottom of the zone but also to really command his pitches, which he worked on in camp. He also thinks it's sometimes more important than velocity for the slender 6-foot-2, 165-pound right-hander.

"[This year] I've been 90-92 miles per hour," he said. "Fastball command is mainly what I focus on, you make mistakes up and it doesn't matter how hard you throw you're going to get hurt. You keep the ball down with good action on it and it doesn't really matter.

"I just try to get ahead of guys, get early contact, and lots of ground balls," Hutchison said of his pitching philosophy.

With an arsenal that already includes a low-90's fastball and changeup that most consider a plus pitch, the search for a good third pitch continues for Hutchison. His slider has shown promise before and he made a point about working on it a lot in camp.

"I'm always tightening up the slider," he said. "It's gotten tighter, I just need to make sure I stay on top of that and my changeup, just trying to get better with all my pitches."

"He's working on throwing his breaking balls and commanding his breaking pitches," Lugnuts Manager Mike Redmond said. "Commanding his slider when behind in the count is important for him because he can throw that pitch to either side of the plate."

As Hutchison continues to develop, it must be encouraging to him the way the organization believes in him and his stuff.

"He's got great stuff. He's obviously got the makeup and potential to be a big league pitcher," Redmond said. "Now it's just a matter of him going out there and logging some innings and continuing to work on the command of the strike zone."

Pitching coach Vince Horsman also complimented the young right-hander on his pitching acumen and work ethic.

"Good guy to have on the staff, he's a strike thrower," Horsman said of Hutchison. "When he's on top of his game, he gets quick innings and works deep into games. He's a pleasure to be around and great to work with."

Though, when asked about a comparison to former Blue Jays starter Shaun Marcum, Horsman was quick to say Marcum had better stuff.

"Drew's got a little more life to his fastball, but Shaun's got a better changeup," he said. "Drew is very similar in that mold, both command guys who throw strikes, and work the ball in the bottom of the zone.

"Good slider, though, I think his breaking ball is probably a little better than Marcum's and I think his changeup will one day get to that level too," Horsman said. "He's a pretty cerebral guy. He has a pretty good game plan each and every time he goes out there. He's pretty savvy for a young man."

Hutchison didn't shy away from questions about the comparison to Marcum; in fact he's heard them before.

"I actually got to watch [Marcum] pitch my first year at Instructional League and see how he sinks the ball and how he commands his changeup," Hutchison said. "He keeps hitters off-balance, which is what pitching is. But, I just have to be myself and go about my business."

So far this season, that's exactly what he's done. Going about his business to the tune of a 2.86 ERA in 22 innings pitched with 24 strikeouts and an opponent's batting average of .188.

"The only times he got in trouble this year was with pitch selection," Redmond said. "He may have made a couple mistakes when he got into some counts where he couldn't afford to do it and he did, but that's pitching and that's the way it goes. This is A-ball and that stuff happens. He continues to go out there, pitch and work hard.

"He's due to have that game where he goes out there and just dominates. Hopefully it'll be soon."


Future Jays Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\n\"The sinker is my main pitch, I get a lot of contact and ground balls from that,\" Drew Hutchison said prior to his start against Great Lakes on Wednesday. \"I try to get early contact outs, either two or three pitches to get a hit or an out.\"
\r\n
\r\nSo far this season he has done a tremendous job inducing ground balls for his infielders. In 22 innings pitched over his four starts, his GO/AO ratio is 2.17.
\r\n
\r\nHutchison believes it's not only important to keep the ball at the bottom of the zone but also to really command his pitches, which he worked on in camp. He also thinks it's sometimes more important than velocity for the slender 6-foot-2, 165-pound right-hander.
\r\n
\r\n\"[This year] I've been 90-92 miles per hour,\" he said. \"Fastball command is mainly what I focus on, you make mistakes up and it doesn't matter how hard you throw you're going to get hurt. You keep the ball down with good action on it and it doesn't really matter.
\r\n
\r\n\"I just try to get ahead of guys, get early contact, and lots of ground balls,\" Hutchison said of his pitching philosophy.
\r\n
\r\nWith an arsenal that already includes a low-90's fastball and changeup that most consider a plus pitch, the search for a good third pitch continues for Hutchison. His slider has shown promise before and he made a point about working on it a lot in camp.
\r\n
\r\n\"I'm always tightening up the slider,\" he said. \"It's gotten tighter, I just need to make sure I stay on top of that and my changeup, just trying to get better with all my pitches.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"He's working on throwing his breaking balls and commanding his breaking pitches,\" Lugnuts Manager Mike Redmond said. \"Commanding his slider when behind in the count is important for him because he can throw that pitch to either side of the plate.\"
\r\n
\r\nAs Hutchison continues to develop, it must be encouraging to him the way the organization believes in him and his stuff.
\r\n
\r\n\"He's got great stuff. He's obviously got the makeup and potential to be a big league pitcher,\" Redmond said. \"Now it's just a matter of him going out there and logging some innings and continuing to work on the command of the strike zone.\"
\r\n
\r\nPitching coach Vince Horsman also complimented the young right-hander on his pitching acumen and work ethic.
\r\n
\r\n\"Good guy to have on the staff, he's a strike thrower,\" Horsman said of Hutchison. \"When he's on top of his game, he gets quick innings and works deep into games. He's a pleasure to be around and great to work with.\"
\r\n
\r\nThough, when asked about a comparison to former Blue Jays starter Shaun Marcum, Horsman was quick to say Marcum had better stuff.
\r\n
\r\n\"Drew's got a little more life to his fastball, but Shaun's got a better changeup,\" he said. \"Drew is very similar in that mold, both command guys who throw strikes, and work the ball in the bottom of the zone.
\r\n
\r\n\"Good slider, though, I think his breaking ball is probably a little better than Marcum's and I think his changeup will one day get to that level too,\" Horsman said. \"He's a pretty cerebral guy. He has a pretty good game plan each and every time he goes out there. He's pretty savvy for a young man.\"
\r\n
\r\nHutchison didn't shy away from questions about the comparison to Marcum; in fact he's heard them before.
\r\n
\r\n\"I actually got to watch [Marcum] pitch my first year at Instructional League and see how he sinks the ball and how he commands his changeup,\" Hutchison said. \"He keeps hitters off-balance, which is what pitching is. But, I just have to be myself and go about my business.\"
\r\n
\r\nSo far this season, that's exactly what he's done. Going about his business to the tune of a 2.86 ERA in 22 innings pitched with 24 strikeouts and an opponent's batting average of .188.
\r\n
\r\n\"The only times he got in trouble this year was with pitch selection,\" Redmond said. \"He may have made a couple mistakes when he got into some counts where he couldn't afford to do it and he did, but that's pitching and that's the way it goes. This is A-ball and that stuff happens. He continues to go out there, pitch and work hard.
\r\n
\r\n\"He's due to have that game where he goes out there and just dominates. Hopefully it'll be soon.\"
\r\n
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