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Toronto Calls on Drew Hutchison

Drew Hutchison has received the call to The Show.

Taken in the 15th round of the 2009 draft, Hutchison wasn’t even on the radar of a lot of teams prior to the draft. Toronto scouts, though, saw something special and convinced the organization that he was worth a $400,000 gamble. The 2009 draft was a circus for the Blue Jays organization. It signed its first overall pick, college right-hander Chad Jenkins who has been a disappointment, but then failed to sign the next three picks. Those picks included James Paxton – now one of Seattle’s top prospects, Jake Eliopoulos, and Jake Barrett – a potential first round draft pick in 2012. The selection of Hutchison and fellow top rookie Jake Marisnick, an athletic outfielder in high-A ball, could help salvage the otherwise disappointing draft.

In just his third pro season, Hutchison, at the age of 21, is now a big leaguer. He was ranked as the fourth best prospect in the Jays system during the pre-season Top 15 prospect list for the club. He had an excellent 2011 season, which saw him pitch at three different levels: low-A, high-A and double-A. After making just three starts at double-A last year, he returned to the level this season and made another three starts.

The right-hander has above-average control for his age and he mixes his pitches well. Hutchison can reach 93-94 mph with his four-seam fastball but he tends to work with a two-seamer in the 89-91 mph range with good movement. His second best pitch is a changeup and it’s a potential strikeout pitch. The third weapon is a slider, which remains inconsistent.

Hutchison likely needs more minor league seasoning. He’s been good – but not dominant – at double-A this year and has just six starts above A-ball. He’s known for having solid makeup and a tough demeanor so he should be able to handle the stress of the sudden call-up. Hutchison will make his big league debut on Saturday against the Kansas City Royals and may be up for just one start before being sent back to double-A. With Toronto in the midst of a 20-game stretch without a break, though, Hutchison could stick around.

The club also considered Joel Carreno and Jesse Chavez, both pitching at triple-A Las Vegas, for the fifth starter’s role.