SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — So what’s the secret to Drew Sutton’s success?
Easy. A former golf instructor named Jamie Cevallos, who last offseason encouraged Sutton to use better body control when bringing his bat through the zone.
“It gives you more room for error,” said Sutton, who had a breakout season at Double-A Corpus Christi (Astros) and parlayed his success to the Arizona Fall League. “He had a lot of video on his computer, and it had Ted Williams and Albert Pujols and it showed a lot about positioning yourself in your swing.”
At 25, the switch-hitting Sutton was one of the more experienced hitters in the Texas League this season and finished .317/.408/.523 with 20 home runs, 39 doubles and 69 RBIs. Scouts considered the circuit thinner in big-time talent this year more than in prior seasons, although the South Division had the better prospect pool.
However, against better competition here in Arizona, Sutton hasn’t missed a beat.
Entering Wednesday, he was hitting a ridiculous .486/.604/.973—and leads in each of those categories.
He also is tied with four others with a league-best nine extra-base hits, ranks second in runs scored (17) and has almost as many RBIs (13) as walks (14).
“The thing that’s been great out here has been the umpires. They’ve been a lot more consistent,” Sutton said. “You can stay within the strike zone and not go off the plate a little. It doesn’t vary as much from umpire to umpire.”
Said Scottsdale manager Shane Turner, “He’s shown more power that you’d think would come out of that body. He has a pretty good idea of the strike zone.”
Turner said Sutton also has impressed on defense. Because Astros outfielder Brian Bogusevic missed time early in the season because of a tweaked hamstring, Sutton was asked to play in the outfield. He played four games in center, four at third and three at short.
“It’s a hard thing when you move around as much as he does,” Turner said. “But his bat is going to find a position for him. When you make a mistake to him, he’s not going to miss it.”
A key to Sutton’s high on-base percentage is not being afraid to take the first pitch for a strike. He can work the count to his liking and then pounce.
And he can thank fellow Astros farmhand Chris Johnson for readying him for the fall league. When Johnson was promoted from Corpus Christi to Triple-A Round Rock in late July, Sutton had to take on a greater role on the Double-A lineup.
“After CJ left in July, our lineup thinned out a little bit,” Sutton said. “I had to learn how to hit tougher pitches and breaking balls in tough counts. But overall that made me a better hitter.”
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