Top Prospect #40: RHP, Ryan Hutchison

The Phillies were being their usual, cautious selves when they assigned Ryan Hutchison to Clearwater last spring. He had pitched there in 2002 and had a good enough season that Hutchison had hoped to move along to AA Reading to start the 2003 campaign. When that didn't happen, the young right-hander didn't hang his head, he simply went to Clearwater and proved that he belonged at AA.

The Phillies drafted Ryan Hutchison out of Western Kentucky University in the 17th round of the 2001 Draft. He was one of those college arms that the Phillies love to draft when they move closer to the middle of the draft and they figured Hutchison was a solid pick.

 

Hutchison was used primarily as a starter in college and threw six complete games in his senior season in just 17 starts. The Phillies felt that Hutchison had developed enough arm strength in his college career that they moved him to the bullpen where they figured he was a little more suited to be. The transition came easily for Hutchison, who started his professional career at Batavia. That first season, he pitched in 26 games and saved 9 while completely dominating opposing hitters and posting a 0.55 ERA.

 

The Phillies didn't bother with any repeats in 2002 and started Hutchison at Clearwater. The adjustment went well and while Hutchison wasn't as dominating as he was at the lower level, he was still one of the brighter spots on the pitching staff. If there was any down fall, it was his control. In 51 innings, Hutchison walked 20 and struck out 37. A minor concern over his walk/strikeout ration may have been why the Phillies decided to start him back at Clearwater in 2003.

 

Any fears that the Phillies had were quickly erased as Hutchison kept a good attitude and simply went back to dominating hitters in A ball. He appeared in 8 games for Clearwater, pitching 9.1 innings and didn't allow a walk. His control, which is a big part of Hutchison's arsenal, was back and perhaps, better than ever. Once again though, advancing a level seemed to hurt Hutchison's control and he struggled at Reading, walking 17 and striking out 17 in 52.2 innings.

 

Hutchison is a location type pitcher that needs to develop consistency. Some lack of control and an adjustment period is normal when a pitcher moves up a level, but it's a little severe in Hutchison's case. Odds are that he was simply trying to do too much and trying too hard to be simply a strikeout pitcher. His ERA has always stayed under the 4.00 level, even when his control has deserted him. Hutchison should learn that shows he can get guys out even when they do get wood on the ball.

 

It's likely that the Phillies will want to see how Hutchison responds with a return to Reading. He technically didn't have a full season at AA and that's usually the level where some players start to slow down a little in their development. That means, that at age 25, Hutchison is facing an important season in 2004. It's likely that the Phillies will want to keep him at Reading a little longer into the 2004 season than they kept him at Clearwater last season. Still, it's not out of the question for Hutchison to be at AAA Scranton by the middle of the season if he can regain his control.

 

Ryan Hutchison's Career Stats

 

Year/Team

W

L

ERA

SV

G

GS

IP

H/9 IP

BB/9 IP

KO/9 IP

2001 Batavia

(A)

3

1

0.55

9

26

0

33.0

5.7

2.7

8.5

2002 Clearwater

(A)

1

2

3.51

0

29

0

51.1

9.9

3.5

6.5

2003 Clearwater

(A)

0

0

0.96

5

8

0

9.1

6.8

0.0

8.7

2003 Reading

(AA)

3

2

3.76

5

34

0

52.2

9.2

2.9

2.9

Minor League Totals

7

5

2.79

19

97

0

145.0

8.6

2.9

5.8

 


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