Why Chase Huchingson is hard to hit

I have lots of spring training video that I’ve been a little delinquent getting edited.  This one is fun.

Chase Huchingson just missed my pre-season Top 41 prospects. The non-drafted free-agent had a really nice 2011 with Savannah, working to a 1.82 ERA in 84 IP, including eight starts. He faned 91 batters and walked 25 in 84 IP. The Mets moved him to the bullpen in the latter half of the season to keep his innings down. He had split his time as a pitcher and outfielder at the University of Central Arkansas, so he had very few innings on his arm prior to 2011.


A-Ball Monday: St. Lucie falls; Cordero lifts Gnats

A+: Daytona Cubs 5, @ St. Lucie 3

Scott Moviel: 6 IP, 11 hits, 5 runs, 2 er, 5k

Wilmer Flores: 1-3, HBP, 2 errors (13 & 14)

Cory Vaughn: 1-4, 3k

Cesar Puello: 0-4, 2k


A: @ Savannah Sand Gnats 5, Lexington Legends 4

A three-run sixth gave the Gnats the lead and the eventual win.

A two-run single by Albert Cordero (1-3, 3RBI) was the big blow in the Gnats rally. Cordero (pictured) is hitting .333/.365/.449 in 18 July games.

Aderlin Rodriguez finished the night at 0-4, and is now hitting .200/.270/.327 in 30 games since the All-Star break.

Chase Huchingson (W(6-2) 2 IP, 2h, K) and Ronny Morla (SV (8), 2 IP, h,K) combined for four scoreless innings of relief.


Your Questions About the Gnats Pitching

The other day, I asked you what you wanted to know about the Gnats.

Here are some of the questions I received, one from the comments section and from the contact form.

Shawn asks:

… For example, Taylor Whitenton, when he was drafted his repertoire consisted of an 88-91 fastball/T94 at times, and flashed a solid to plus slider. What is he like now with his stuff, considering the good year he has put up.

That’s not a bad scouting report, still actually.  The stadium gun has been really spotty, but I think he’s mostly 90-92 this year with an occasional 94.  He relies heavily on his heater.

Putting a “plus” on his slider is optimistic to my eyes at the moment.  His slider has more depth than sweep. As he explained to me, he leans over to his left in his delivery, so that even though he releases the ball with his hand around the side of the ball like a slider, with the angle he creates, his fingers are almost on top of the ball and it goes down.  He has trouble throwing the breaking ball for strikes.

The big thing for me with Whitenton is his command.  He was wild last year, walking 5.6 batters per nine.  He also lived up in the strike zone last year, which worked in pitcher-friendly Grayson Stadium, but got him in trouble elsewhere.  He’s been better this year, lowering his BB/9 to 4.3, but still has a ways to go.

Whitenton was pretty raw when he arrived in Savannah a year ago with just five professional innings in the Gulf Coast League to his credit. He has the lowest batting average against of any pitcher in the SAL which speaks to the quality of his stuff when he’s throwing strikes.  His next step is simply to throw more, better strikes.




Mistermet asked:

I’d like to know a little more about Chad Hutchingson, if possible. What kind of stuff does he have, control and does he have the potential to be a prospect of any kind or is he just beating up on low A competition?

Ah, yes, that’s LHP Chase Huchingson.  Even his biggest fans don’t know his name!

The non-drafted free agent is a three pitch guy: fastball, breaking ball and change-up.

I think he’s a prospect of some kind.  He’s a lean 6’5″ with delivery that makes it awfully tough to pick the ball up because it’s all arms, elbows and legs – lots of them – flying at a hitter from a pretty low arm slot.  His fastball is mostly upper 80s, touching 90, but  big league lefties have succeeded with less.  He calls his breaking pitch a curveball, but out of his low slot it acts like a slider and is kinda slurvy.

The Mets moved him back to the bullpen in the second week of June to limit the number of innings he’ll throw this year as he was on pace for 120 after tossing just 11 for Kingsport a year ago.    He also really hasn’t thrown that much in his baseball life as he was a outfielder and pitcher in college at Central Arkansas.


Weekend in A-Ball: Gnats Swept but Chase Huchingson Shines, Aderlin Rodriguez’s Adjustments & Cory Vaughn’s Slump

Friday: @ Greenville Drive (BOS) 5, Savannah Sand Gnats 0
Saturday: @ Greenville Drive 5, Savannah Sand Gnats 4
Sunday: @ Greenville Drive 12, Savannah Sand Gants 1

It’s a good thing the Gnats (39-30) eliminated the Greenville Drive and clinched a first-half title last Tuesday, because the Drive swept the Gnats to finish the first half this past weekend.


All-Star Huch

Chase Huchingson turned in the best performance of the weekend, tossing three shutout innings out of the bullpen Friday.  He gave up just one hit and fanned five.  The Mets moved Huchingson to the bullpen to keep the strain down on his arm, as he’s already thrown 53.1 innings in 2011.  The lanky lefty has been one of the most pleasant surprises of the 2011 season.


Ad-Rod’s Splits

Aderlin Rodriguez was 2-4 with a double on Sunday to run his June production to .279/.315/.353.  His monthly splits are interesting: .209/.236/.442 in April, .204/.278/.345 in May, and then .279/.315/.353 in June.  There’s a danger in making too much out of small samples, but in April he hit for power (5 2B and 5 HR) and never walked.  In May, he walked (12 times) and hit for a little less power (7 XBH).  Now in June, he’s starting to see the returns to a more patient approach in his batting average, but is walking a little less with a little less power.  Still, he’s going deep into counts and battling through at-bats.  My bet is that he puts it all together in the second-half.


Vaughn Needs a Breather

The All-Star could not come at a better time for RF Cory Vaughn (.286/.405/.408) who was named the Southern Division’s starter in centerfield Friday.  On the heels of a .356/.496/.510 May, Vaughn has slumped to .154/.225/.215 in 17 games in June with 20 strikeouts in 65 AB.

Pitching Carries Gnats Friday

A: @ Savannah Sand Gnats 3, Kannapolis Intimidators 1

The Gnats needed just three hits because, well, more good pitching was the order of the day Friday.

Chase Huchingson was good over five innings, fanning seven, walking two and yielding just one hit.  The non-drafted free agent is looking like a steal.

Thanks to a win and some good out of town results, the Gnats have a 4.5 game lead for first place in the SAL Southern Division with 15 games to play.

Monday: Savannah Pitching Shines; Here Comes Puello

A+: @ Daytona Cubs 8, St. Lucie Mets 3

Hey now.
Jefry Marte (.297/.371/.461): 3-4, 2 2B, 2 RBI.
Cesar Puello was 2-5 and has now hit safely in his last seven games, going 10-for-29 with two doubles, a triple and a homer in that span with four walks and four strikeouts.  He’s hitting .345/.424/.586 in those seven games.

I talked to a scout today who saw Puello last year and told me that he thinks Puello “is going to be a star.”  He might never be a superstar, but who is?   In all seriousness, though, he loved the outfielder’s  five-tool potential.
Wilmer Flores (.265/.296/.365) was 0-4 before earning an ejection in the eighth inning.  Think he’s frustrated by his .205/.228/.318 line in May?
Tobi Stoner: 5 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 HR, 0 BB, 4 K.  In 15 IP in St. Lucie, he’s given up 21 hits, 13 runs and three bombs.  Forget AAA for a moment, he’s not helping St. Lucie.


A: @ Savannah Sand Gnats 1, Greenville Drive 0
LHP Chase Huchingson: 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 7 K
The lanky lefty is fast becoming one of the cool stories of the 2011 season in the Mets system.  Signed as a non-drafted free agent last summer, Huchingson split his time at the University of Central Arkansas as a pitcher and outfielder.  He’s funky, hides the ball well and has a live arm.  He’s a three pitch guy right now, fastball, curveball and changeup.  He throws out of a low 3/4 arm slot, so there are times when the curve has more sweep to it. Huchingson talked about Tuesday here.

He started the last two times through the Savannah rotation in part so that he can throw more innings, and in part to limit Erik Goeddel’s workload. The plan is to have those two guys share the spot in the rotation.

Meanwhile, Erik Goeddel relieved Huchingson and tossed three scoreless, hitless innings of his own.

2B Robbie Shields (.289/.376/.470) was 0-4, snapping his 12-game hitting streak.
Cory Vaughn (.331/.469/.477) was 2-4.

The Gnats, who have won three games in a row, lead the SAL Southern Division at 22-22.


AAA: @ Buffalo Bisons 6, Charlotte Knights 2

Kirk Nieuwenhuis: 0-1, 2 BB.
Dylan Owen: 3 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 K

AA: B-Mets @ New Britain: PPD by Rain

The B-Mets seventh rainout.  Crazy.  Awful.
They’ll play two Wednesday.