Toronto Blue Jays' Drew Hutchinson Facing Uncharacteristic Control Issues In Rehab

By Thom Tsang
John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

I don’t know about you, but I think there’s maybe a case of mistaken identities going on in the Toronto Blue Jays‘ minor league system.

So, let’s get this straight: both Drew Hutchison and Kyle Drabek needed Tommy Johns surgery last season, and now that they’re on the mend, Drabek is suddenly able to pound the strike zone at 1.4 BB/9 across three levels in his rehab, while Hutchison has a 4.0 BB/9 — the highest that he’s posted at any point of his professional career (small sample size caveat, obviously)?

Did someone swap their jerseys in a prank? Talk about a topsy-turvy role reversal.

Then again, that’s just the kind of thing to expect from the Blue Jays in 2013, I suppose — fans have to take the good with the bad. And in this case, the bad is that while Hutchison is moving right along in terms of building up his arm strength in his rehab process, his stuff hasn’t exactly been up to par.

Though his latest outing for triple-A Buffalo (4.1 IP, five hits, one earned run, five Ks) was one of his best rehab outings yet, his wildness on the mound was once again an issue as he walked two batters and plunked one for the second straight time out of three starts at this level. In the lone outlier where he didn’t walk a single batter? He allowed six runs on six hits and a homer through 3.2 IP … and hit a couple of batters.

That’s eight batters that he put on base over his last 11 innings, and despite having flashed some strikeout ability (nine strikeouts over last 7.1 IP), there’s still clearly a fair bit of work to be done here.

Fortunately for the Blue Jays, they are in a position where they can be patient with the 23-year old.

With Kyle Drabek likely having earned a look in September along with Sean Nolin and Marcus Stroman, the team could opt to wait on Hutchison even after the minor league season ends and simply have him ready to join what might just be a very large competition for the no. 5 rotation job next season.

Besides, with just 39.1 double-A innings and 11 triple-A frames of experience … it couldn’t hurt for him to spend his age-23 season in 2014 down in the minors for a bit longer, no?

Thom is an MLB writer for Follow him on Twitter @BlueJaysRant, or add him to your network on Google

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