clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The Season that Was: Drew Hutchison

A look at Drew Hutchison's 2015 season?

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

I really expected 2015 to be a breakout season for Drew Hutchison. I'm pretty sure that I told some radio that Drew was the guy to watch in some preseason interview. I really thought that, after a pretty good 2014 season, coming back after missing all of 2013 after Tommy John surgery, that he would be that much better this year. It seemed to be the way things go after Tommy John, a year to kind of regain the feel for pitching, then the next year, things are good.

Also Drew seemed to be making improvements as the 2014 season went on. I thought those improvements would carry over. His FIP and xFIP were much better than his ERA, in 2014, you just figured he had to have a good 2015.

It didn't happen.

Year   Age  W L  ERA  G GS CG SHO    IP   H ER HR BB  SO HBP ERA+
2015    24 13 5 5.57 30 28  1   1 150.1 179 93 22 44 129  11   71

Provided by ""

Isn't that a pretty win/loss record. That's all that matters, right?

Baseball Reference has him at a -1.7 WAR. FanGraphs was much nicer to Drew, putting him at a 1.5 WAR, giving him a value of $11.9 million to the Jays. Fangraphs uses FIP to figure their WAR value, BR uses actual runs scored. I change my mind daily which I prefer. In this case, I think FIP is being too generous to Drew.

Drew's FIP 4.42 and xFIP 4.21 were both more than a run better than his ERA.

His BABIP was a very high .343, so you can see why his FIP numbers were better than his ERA. In 2014 his BABIP was .293.

Drew's strikeout rate was down a bit from last year (19.4% down from 23.4), but his walk rate was down too (6.6% down from 7.6).

He gave up a lot more line drives (24.0% up from 18.6), so that where a lot of the gain in BABIP comes. More ground balls (39.6% up from 36.1) and fewer flies (.36.4% down from 45.2). More of his fly balls left the part (12.7% up from 9.7).

Drew had huge reverse splits. RHB hit .330/.384/.522. LHB .266/.324/.426. That's a major change from 2014, where lefties hit him much better than right-handers.

As you know, he was hugely better at home (11-2, 2.91 ERA, batters hit .238/.288/.357) than on the road (2-3, 9.83 ERA, batters hit .380/.437/.636). I have no idea how to explain that, other than guessing that the season started that why and people starting asking him about it and it got into his head. It seems hard to believe that he liked pitching off the Rogers Centre mound so much that he had an ERA more than 3 times worse on the road. I'd consider it a fluke, but that's a huge difference. Last year he was slightly better at home.

He was better in the first half (8-2, 5.33 ERA, batters hit 296/.351/.439) than on the road (5-3, 6.02, batters hi 299/.355/.536).

Drew by month:

  • April: 2-0, 6.67 ERA in 5 starts. Batters hit .273/.352/.427.
  • May: 2-1, 4.21 ERA in 6 starts. Batters hit .266/.393/.410.
  • June: 4-0, 4.32 ERA in 5 starts. Batters hit .308/.374/.442.
  • July: 1-1, 6.93 ERA in 5 starts. Batters hit ..360/.417/.530.
  • August: 4-0, 2.45 ERA in 4 starts. Batters hit .215/.263/.323.
  • September/October: 0-3, 13.89, 3 starts, 2 relief. Batters hit .421/.476/.912.
In August, it looked like he had it figured out, September came and it all fell apart.

His longest win streak was 5 games, and he did that twice. His longest losing streak was 3 games, to finish the season.

Drew's best start, by Game Score was a 87, a complete game shutout over the White Sox on May 25th. He allowed 4 hits, 0 walks and hat 8 strikeouts. His worst Game Score was a 7, a lost to the Red Sox, June 12th. He went a big 2.1, allowing 9 hits, 8 earned, 3 walks, 3 home runs and strike strikeouts.

I have no idea what happened to Drew. If you look at FanGraphs, the velocity on his pitches was much the same as last year. He seemed to use them much the same. Subjectively, he seemed to fall behind in the count more than he had in the past and then, when he had to throw strikes they were hit very hard.

The home/road splits? I have no idea, but I'm sticking with the guess that he had a couple of bad starts on the road, at the start of the season, and people kept asking him about it and it got into his head. Or, perhaps, it was the luck of the draw. I don't know.

And I don't understand why his right/left splits flipped from last year. Working on last year's problem created a new one for this year?

I will say I was surprised he wasn't added to the playoff roster when Brett Cecil was injured. I figured he would have more value as a long man in the pen than Ryan Tepera had as another right-handed reliever. I know the Jays said they liked Tepera's reverse splits, but that seemed flimsy reasoning to me.

I have no idea where the Jays are with Drew. Is he going to be in the rotation? If he is, will be be any good? I imagine spring training will decide things. I don't see much reason to be optimistic. He did have a good August. We aren't very deep in starting pitching, so I'll hope he figures things out.