Baseball is the one major sport where age isn’t necessarily a factor when it comes to success.
Plenty of teams have won on the shoulders of aging vets — case in point, 2013 World Series MVP David Ortiz, who is 38 years old.
Of course, that mantra isn’t guaranteed to always work — case in point, the 2013 Toronto Blue Jays.
With quite a few pitchers inching towards retirement, 23-year-old Drew Hutchison adds some much-needed youth to the Blue Jays’ rotation, and he makes for a decent late-round pick in AL-only and deep-league fantasy baseball drafts.
» Drew Hutchison, SP (current ADP: #444):
Many fantasy baseball owners have forgotten about Drew Hutchison, and who could blame them?
He had a very good minor league career, posting a record of 18-13 with a 2.80 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, and 288 K over 270 IP. In fact, he made just 45 starts on the farm before getting called up to the majors, completely bypassing Triple-A.
Unfortunately for Hutchison, he suffered a torn UCL during his stint with Toronto, which ultimately required Tommy John surgery and ended his season.
Despite his tragic injury, there were some positives to take away from his brief stay in Canada’s largest city.
For starters, he had a winning record, going 5-3 in 11 outings. He also showed the ability to strike batters out at a higher level of competition, whiffing 49 batters in 58.2 IP.
One thing you’ll notice when watching Hutchison is that he’s still got oomph on his fastball, reaching 94 mph (as seen below in the Jays’ spring game vs. the Orioles on March 1):
Hutchison is slated to begin the year as the Jays’ third or fourth starter, and believe me, they want him to succeed.
Marcus Stroman, 22, Aaron Sanchez, 21, and Kyle Drabek, 26, will join Hutchison as part of a younger wave of pitchers ready to hit Toronto in the near future. Things are starting to look up for the Blue Jays.
In 9.2 spring innings, Drew Hutchison has allowed three earned runs and struck out 16. Owners in deep leagues, and especially AL-only leagues, should be targeting him at the very end of their fantasy drafts. Pitching in the AL East is no easy task, but it would better to draft him and use him more as a matchup-based hurler than to not draft him and let someone else scoop him up after he comes out guns blazing.
2014 Projections: 9-10, 4.20 ERA, 125 K, 1.26 WHIP, 140 IP
» Missed any of my earlier picks? Please click here for links to all the sleepers I’ve have covered from each team so far.