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The Season that Was: Drew Hutchison

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A look at Drew Hutchison's 2014 season.

Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Coming into spring training, I didn't think Drew Hutchison had a shot at making the team out of spring training. He was just off missing almost the full 2013 season after Tommy John surgery. He did pitch 35 minor league innings and a few more in the Arizona Fall League, but I figured the plan was that he would start the season in Buffalo, and be the guy called up if there was an injury in the rotation.

I thought he needed the time in the minors to work on his delivery in the relative calm of the minors. Make sure he had it to the point he could repeat it, over and over.

Then, Esmil Rogers, J.A. Happ and Todd Redmond had crappy springs and Hutchison looked very good and plans changed.

I don't know that eh wouldn't have been better off to start the season in the minors, but the team wouldn't have been better off.

                                                         
Year   Age  W  L  ERA  G GS CG SHO    IP     H  ER HR BB  SO
2014    23  11 13 4.48 32 32  1   1      184.2 173 92  23 60  184

Provided by "Baseball-Reference.com"

Fangraphs has him at a 2.6 WAR, making him worth $14.5 million to the Jays. Baseball Reference didn't like him quite as much, giving him a 1.5 WAR.

His BABIP was .293, right about where it was in 2012, .291, before the injury.

Compared to 2012, Drew's strikeout rate was up (23.4%, up from 19.1) and his walk rate about the same  (7.6%, down slightly from 7.8).

His line drive rate dropped a bunch (18.6%, down from 25.4), ground ball rate was down a lot (36.1, down from 44.6), and, of course, his fly ball rate was up (45.2 from 29.9). He was a ground ball pitcher before the surgery and a fly ball pitcher after. Fewer of his fly balls left the park (9.7%, down from 15.1).

His FIP was 3.85 and xFIP 3.82, a lot lower than his ERA (4.48).

Drew was much better against RHB (.224/..272/.343) than against LHB (.263/.334/.477). In 2012, lefties and righties hit him pretty equally (.769 OPS vs RHB and .750 vs. LHB).

He was slightly better on the road (.251/.308/.399) than at home (.236/.306/.443).

He was a little better in the first half (6-8, 4.16 ERA) than in the season half (5-5, 4.96).

Hutchison by month:

April: 1-2, 3.82 ERA in 6 starts. Batters hit .254/.312/.421.

May: 3-1, 3.94 ERA in 5 starts. Batters hit .235/.303/.437.

June: 1-3, 4.28 ERA in 5 starts. Batters hit .269/.310/.423.

July: 2-3, 6.53 ERA in 6 starts. Batters hit .291/.364/.417.

August: 2-2, 3.93 ERA in 5 starts. Batters hit .190/.259/355.

September: 2-2, 4.55 in 5 starts. Batters hit .231/.288/.444.

If you ignore July, he was pretty consistent.

His longest win streak was 3 games, in May, of course. His longest losing streak was 3 games, which happened twice.

Drew's best GameScore was an 86 on May 16. He had a complete game shutout, allowing just 3 hits, 1 walks with 6 strikeouts, against the Rangers. He also had a 85 against the Orioles and an 82 against the Yankees.

His worst start was had a 18 GameScore, on July 21, against the Red Sox. He went just 2.2, allowed 9 hits, 6 earned, no walks, with 2 strikeouts, in a game we lost 14-1.

After missing all of 2013, just that Drew made 32 starts makes the season a success. As Nick pointed out,  he does need a new plan against lefties. As mentioned above, he didn't have such a large left/right split in 2012. He, and the Jays, have the whole off-season to come up with answers there. He likely will get more of a chance to work on his change up this coming spring, since he won't be battling for spot in the rotation this time.

I'd like to think he'll be better next year. His FIP being so much better than his ERA does make you hopeful. When he was having problems, it seemed to be that was having a hard time keeping the ball down. I'm hopeful that a year further removed the surgery, he'll be a bit better at hitting his spots.

I like starters that can get a strikeout an inning. He's still young, he turned 24 on August 22 (same birthday as my wife). Small improvements would make him a pretty good starting pitcher. I'd like to think those improvements will happen.