To this point, the Yankees have taken two catchers, two outfielders, and a right-handed pitcher in this year’s draft. Now, in the 6th round, New York has taken right-handed pitcher Rodney Hutchison from University of North Carolina at 187th overall. He’s a little bit of an overdraft at 452nd on Baseball America’s top 500, but he brings some interesting stuff.
Hutchison is a senior sign whose 4.79 ERA isn’t exactly sparkling, but the Yankees were intrigued by several improvements he made in 2018. Coming in at six-foot-six and 225 pounds, he is a big bodied righty who throws a heavy fastball with late arm-side run from a three-quarters arm slot. He primarily worked in the 90-92 mph range before jumping to 92-94 mph, and hitting 96 during the ACC Tournament.
He matches his fastball with a plus, mid-80s changeup and has greatly improved his slider. Hutchison has also shown himself to be quite versatile, who can pitch well at any position in the rotation, and can come out of the bullpen as an effective late-inning reliever. What gets him in trouble is his tendency to lose the strike zone, but he often tinkers with his delivery and arm slot enough to make adjustments.
The Yankees clearly saw a guy who is undervalued in this year’s draft. A late increase in velocity and improved secondary stuff made him a viable option to be taken here in the 6th round. They can afford to try him out as a starter before deciding whether or not he belongs in the bullpen.