With five solid innings Friday night against Baltimore, Jays starter Drew Hutchison wrapped up his 2014 season.
And it was a season that was deceptively good. In a year where Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez, and to a lesser extent Daniel Norris, grabbed all the headlines, Hutchison put together really good, and full, year.
He struck out nearly a batter per inning and walked fewer than three per nine, good enough for a 3.07 K/BB ratio. That places him 40th overall in baseball among qualified pitchers. His 184 strikeouts puts him ahead of guys with names like Burnett, Shields, Wainwright and Gray. And he did that in 30 fewer innings than any of those guys. His K/9 rate is the same as Johnny Cueto, who happens to be a Cy Young candidate for the National League.
While his 4.48 ERA isn’t sexy, all the metrics like him. FIP (3.85), xFIP (3.82), and SIERA (3.59) all say he pitched better than his ERA indicates. By WAR, Fangraphs has him at 2.7, while Baseball Reference is a little more bullish, pegging him at 1.5.
Overall, looking through his numbers there’s not much to dislike. His velocity was higher on average than when he came up in 2012, averaging a healthy 92.1 mph on his fastball. He threw his first pitch for a strike nearly 60 per cent of the time and had a swinging strike percentage of 10.8 (good for 13th in all of baseball). He also made guys chase, sporting a 34.1 O-swing%.
The only thing I could find that wasn’t the greatest was his groundball percentage, which sat at 36.1.
And the main thing is he’s healthy. Though pundits wondered at points in the season if he was tired or worn down – he did have a few lousy stretches – Hutchison took the mound 32 times and threw 184 innings.
While everyone’s excited about the future of Stroman, and seeing Sanchez in the rotation sometime next year – rightfully so, I should add – Drew Hutchison rounds out a pretty exciting threesome of young pitchers.
And with a full year in the Majors under his belt, it’s quite possible he takes another step forward.
I’ll take that.