Prospectus Preview: Close to the Majors, Trey McNutt
Trey McNutt’s brief career has been both exciting and a struggle. The right-handed pitcher took the lower levels by storm in his first years, breaking out in 2010. At three levels that season, he was 10-1 with a 2.48 ERA in 25 starts and 116.1 innings. After a season where he earned Mid-Season All-Star nod in Single-A that year however, his numbers started to unravel.
In 2011, the power arm was derailed by injuries and appeared to have lost a lot of confidence in his stuff. He finished the year with a 4.55 ERA and a 6.2 K/9, significantly down from his 10.8 K/9 in 2010.
The struggles continued for McNutt in 2012 until a mid-season conversion to the bullpen, where it looks like the 6-foot-4 pitcher might have regained his confidence. In Double-A Tennessee, he finished 9-8 with a 4.26 ERA over 95 innings. A member of the 40-man roster, Spring Training will largely determine what level McNutt starts the 2013 campaign on.
McNutt is one of more than 60 players covered in Vine Line’s annual Minor League Prospectus. The issue is on newsstands now, with single issues available by calling 800-618-8377. It’s an exhaustive rundown, perfect for Spring Training and beyond.
P | Trey McNutt
Born: 8/2/89 in Birmingham, Ala.
Acquired: 2009 Draft (32)
Tools: Fastball, Curveball
2012 STATS (Double-A): 4.26 ERA, 95.0 IP, 93 HA, 45 BB, 66 K
It’s been two challenging seasons in the rotation since McNutt’s 2010 breakout, when the former 32nd-round pick had a 2.48 ERA, 10.2 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 over 116 Single-A innings. But the Cubs saw a different pitcher after a transition to the bullpen, where McNutt’s 94-95 mph fastball had different action behind it. And that “action” wasn’t just improved movement; he also had more purpose and confidence behind the pitch. The big message the Cubs want to get across to McNutt is that he has the stuff and simply needs to be aggressive with it. The bullpen may be where he can finally let loose.
Other players featured in this section: infielders Junior Lake, Josh Vitters and Logan Watkins; outfielders Brett Jackson and Matt Szczur; and pitchers Alberto Cabrera, Brooks Raley, Nick Struck, Robert Whitenack and Tony Zych.
Plus, tidbits on OF Jae-Hoon Ha, LHP Chris Rusin, LHP Frank Del Valle, LHP Zach Rosscup, RHP Matt Loosen, IF Justin Bour, RHP Marcus Hatley, LHP Austin Kirk and RHP Eric Jokisch.