Hutchison Nearly Ready

Manchester, N.H.- Drew Hutchison is proving to be a true steal. After being drafted no sooner than the 15th round in 2009 by the Blue Jays, Hutchison shot through Lansing and Dunedin last year to end up with New Hampshire for his three last starts. Now, ten pounds heavier and one year older, "Hutch" has gotten off to a great start, going 2-0 with a 1.64 ERA.

Hutchison has good stuff - a two-seam sinker, a four-seam fastball in the low to mid 90's, a changeup and a slider, the latter of which New Hampshire manager Sal Fasano admitted was a "work in progress." What makes 21-year-old right hander truly threatening is his competitive nature.

"Everything he does is competitive," said Tom Signore, New Hampshire pitching coach. "If he plays you in checkers, he'd want to whoop your ass."

Fasano concurs.

"I think what separates Drew from the other starters is his competitiveness," Fasano sad. "Really, he's got tenacity to get guys out, and he wants the ball, and, to me, that's the biggest attribute a pitcher can have. To have heart and to really want the ball - he has both of those things."

Hutchison has plenty to work on, like the aforementioned slider. Inconsistencies in form show up in his starts here and there. Hutch is always thinking when he's on the mound, though, and he does his best to stay aware of any corrections he can make mid-inning, a sophisticated trait in a pitcher so young.

"He makes adjustments in-game, which is very encouraging to see," Signore said. "[For instance] he may take away from the rubber a little too quick, not letting his arm get out in front, but you know the next pitch he'll make the adjustment."

Hutchison is aware of the high praise he's gotten from both inside and out of the organization. He doesn't concern himself with that, however. He's much more interested in working day to day on his performance and making sure he gives his team "a chance to win every time you touch the ball."

This means working frequently with Signore on strengthening each of his pitches, the slider being the biggest concern of his. Signore said that he'd like to see Hutch's slider gain more of an angle. "[Right now I'm] just tightening up my slider a little bit," Hutchison said. "Some nights, it will be good. Some nights it will be off, but I'm trying to really be consistent with it every night."

Fasano and Signore are well aware that development of Hutchison's form has a lot to do with his age. Even with the success that Hutchison has found, there is so much room for the young pitcher to grow.

"All stuff can be improved," Fasano said. "He's 21-years-old. I mean, I don't [expect him right now to] beat the world with a 102 mph fastball."

One thing that has really impressed Fasano is how much he's seen Hutchison's body change physically since joining the Blue Jays' organization.

"When he gets bigger and stronger-," said Fasano, "He's put on 30 lbs since I first saw him in Lansing, so the sky's the limit as to what he's capable of doing still."

And Fasano and Signore do not want to be misunderstood - they don't mean to say that Hutchison's form is simply "okay" in comparison to his competitive nature.

"I think it's good, actually," corrected Fasano. The fact is, even when Hutchison's youth gets in the way, he's able to take control and compete his way out.

Mechanically speaking, Signore sees Hutchison as a young pitcher with a lot of range in what he's capable of doing on the mound.

"Pitchers have the advantage. We have to try and take advantage of the things we're able to do as much as possible," Signore said. "Taking the speed off the ball, adding speed to it, adding bend to it, adding angle to it, elevating it, you know. There's a lot of things we can do, but how well can we do them? And Hutch does a lot of things well. That's why he is where he is."

Hutchison got the call for opening night in Trenton last week, giving up two earned runs a 5-3 road win. The next week, he pitched a shutout through seven innings, bringing his ERA down to where it is now at 1.64. Hutchison said that he feels no difference pitching at Double-A, even though he's only pitched five games at this level.

"You know, it's just baseball," Hutchison said. "It's just like any other time. You just go out there and try to execute your game plan and go right after guys."

While Hutchison has already leaped great distances in the past 12 months, Signore admitted that there was no reason why Hutchison wasn't capable of advancing to the Triple-A or Major League club very soon.

"Yeah, I don't see why he can't go on this year, sure," Signore said. "It's not that different [from Double-A]. It's a quicker game. It's a little bit quicker, so if (Hutchison is) able to slow the game down at any level, he can pitch at any level in the world."


Future Jays Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nHutchison has good stuff - a two-seam sinker, a four-seam fastball in the low to mid 90's, a changeup and a slider, the latter of which New Hampshire manager Sal Fasano admitted was a \"work in progress.\" What makes 21-year-old right hander truly threatening is his competitive nature.
\r\n
\r\n\"Everything he does is competitive,\" said Tom Signore, New Hampshire pitching coach. \"If he plays you in checkers, he'd want to whoop your ass.\"
\r\n
\r\nFasano concurs.
\r\n
\r\n\"I think what separates Drew from the other starters is his competitiveness,\" Fasano sad. \"Really, he's got tenacity to get guys out, and he wants the ball, and, to me, that's the biggest attribute a pitcher can have. To have heart and to really want the ball - he has both of those things.\"
\r\n
\r\nHutchison has plenty to work on, like the aforementioned slider. Inconsistencies in form show up in his starts here and there. Hutch is always thinking when he's on the mound, though, and he does his best to stay aware of any corrections he can make mid-inning, a sophisticated trait in a pitcher so young.
\r\n
\r\n\"He makes adjustments in-game, which is very encouraging to see,\" Signore said. \"[For instance] he may take away from the rubber a little too quick, not letting his arm get out in front, but you know the next pitch he'll make the adjustment.\"
\r\n
\r\nHutchison is aware of the high praise he's gotten from both inside and out of the organization. He doesn't concern himself with that, however. He's much more interested in working day to day on his performance and making sure he gives his team \"a chance to win every time you touch the ball.\"
\r\n
\r\nThis means working frequently with Signore on strengthening each of his pitches, the slider being the biggest concern of his. Signore said that he'd like to see Hutch's slider gain more of an angle.\r\n\"[Right now I'm] just tightening up my slider a little bit,\" Hutchison said. \"Some nights, it will be good. Some nights it will be off, but I'm trying to really be consistent with it every night.\"
\r\n
\r\nFasano and Signore are well aware that development of Hutchison's form has a lot to do with his age. Even with the success that Hutchison has found, there is so much room for the young pitcher to grow.
\r\n
\r\n\"All stuff can be improved,\" Fasano said. \"He's 21-years-old. I mean, I don't [expect him right now to] beat the world with a 102 mph fastball.\"
\r\n
\r\nOne thing that has really impressed Fasano is how much he's seen Hutchison's body change physically since joining the Blue Jays' organization.
\r\n
\r\n\"When he gets bigger and stronger-,\" said Fasano, \"He's put on 30 lbs since I first saw him in Lansing, so the sky's the limit as to what he's capable of doing still.\"
\r\n
\r\nAnd Fasano and Signore do not want to be misunderstood - they don't mean to say that Hutchison's form is simply \"okay\" in comparison to his competitive nature.
\r\n
\r\n\"I think it's good, actually,\" corrected Fasano.\r\nThe fact is, even when Hutchison's youth gets in the way, he's able to take control and compete his way out.
\r\n
\r\nMechanically speaking, Signore sees Hutchison as a young pitcher with a lot of range in what he's capable of doing on the mound.
\r\n
\r\n\"Pitchers have the advantage. We have to try and take advantage of the things we're able to do as much as possible,\" Signore said. \"Taking the speed off the ball, adding speed to it, adding bend to it, adding angle to it, elevating it, you know. There's a lot of things we can do, but how well can we do them? And Hutch does a lot of things well. That's why he is where he is.\"
\r\n
\r\nHutchison got the call for opening night in Trenton last week, giving up two earned runs a 5-3 road win. The next week, he pitched a shutout through seven innings, bringing his ERA down to where it is now at 1.64. Hutchison said that he feels no difference pitching at Double-A, even though he's only pitched five games at this level.
\r\n
\r\n\"You know, it's just baseball,\" Hutchison said. \"It's just like any other time. You just go out there and try to execute your game plan and go right after guys.\"
\r\n
\r\nWhile Hutchison has already leaped great distances in the past 12 months, Signore admitted that there was no reason why Hutchison wasn't capable of advancing to the Triple-A or Major League club very soon.
\r\n
\r\n\"Yeah, I don't see why he can't go on this year, sure,\" Signore said. \"It's not that different [from Double-A]. It's a quicker game. It's a little bit quicker, so if (Hutchison is) able to slow the game down at any level, he can pitch at any level in the world.\"
\r\n
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