The Blue Jays plan to promote righthander Drew Hutchison from Double-A New Hampshire to Toronto to make his major league debut on Saturday against the Royals, according to a report on Twitter from Sportsnet's Barry Davis.
Hutchison, 21, has moved quickly since the Blue Jays signed him for a $400,000 bonus out of high school when he slid to the 15th round in the 2009 draft. At this time last year, Hutchison was pitching in low Class A Lansing, but he rose through three levels and finished in Double-A, which is where he had returned to open 2012.
The Blue Jays' No. 9 prospect, Hutchison has moved quickly because he throws strikes and commands his fastball to both sides of the plate. In terms of velocity, his fastball is an average pitch, but it's lively and he can sink it to get ground balls and keep the ball in the yard. His changeup is his best secondary pitch, but he mixes in a slider as well, though it gets mixed reviews from scouts. Even though he throws across his body, it hasn't hampered his command, and because he hides the ball well with his arm stroke, it's tough for hitters to pick up the ball out of his hand, though there is some question among scouts about whether the deception that works against Double-A batters will fly against big league hitters.
Is Hutchison ready now? In a perfect-world scenario, he might stick around the minors a bit longer, since he has barely more than 30 innings of experience at Double-A, though he's performed extremely well in those six starts and is already quite polished for his age. Hutchison is good enough to fit as a back-end starter, the role he's being asked to fill in for now, with perhaps enough upside for a bit more down the road. He won't dazzle anyone with his fastball like his new rotation mate Henderson Alvarez, but like Alvarez, you can expect Hutchison to throw strikes, get grounders and keep his team in the game.
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