This time last year, Drew Hutchison wasn’t projected to be in the starting rotation. He showed up in spring training and forced himself into the picture, impressing observers with his command and his competitiveness. He had a few ups and downs, but held onto the job all season. (Random fun fact: he started every fifth game of the season from game 80 onwards: games 80, 85, 90, and so on up to 160.)
Fangraphs (which is an excellent baseball site) has grown fond of Hutchison. One recent article states that he found a new and improved slider in mid-August. Another article suggested that he would make a good 2015 fantasy baseball bargain. The records don’t count this out: they show that Hutchison’s strikeout rate went up at the end of the season, which may be a good sign. In 27 2/3 innings in September, he struck out 41 batters, which is quite a lot.
However, during those September games, he got bombed by the Baltimore Orioles and didn’t make it out of the fifth against the Yankees. This matched a season-long pattern of mixing good games and bad ones: over the course of the year, he got bombed (gave up five or more runs) eight times. Having this many bad starts is a bit of a problem for a team trying to win right now.
But Hutchison is only 24 (he won’t be 25 until late summer) and is already an established starting pitcher. He looks to be still improving, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to anyone if he were to step forward and win a whole bunch of games. The Jays have a whole bunch of good young starting pitching prospects, and Hutchison is definitely one of the bunch.