Despite this season being much of a disaster for Reds MLB Pipeline number 11 prospect Vladimir Gutierrez, he has been good of late. In fact, he’s been so good, he claimed the International League Player of the Week honor last week.
It’s hard to believe that’s possible for a guy who’s had an ERA flirting with seven all year. However, he allowed just one earned run in six innings in each of his last two outings. This isn’t a feat he’d only done in two of his previous eight starts. In his last start, he struck out 10, by far a season high.
While his overall numbers were better to start 2018, he also started with a 1-8 record. Gutierrez posted a 5.14 ERA in April last season and a 7.77 ERA in May, before being much better the rest of the way. His K/9 jumped as he went too.
The 2019 season has been similar, just worse. Both April and May saw ERAs over eight. They’ve gotten better, but still far from good.
Louisville manager Jody Davis, who also had Gutierrez last season, she’s some similarities.
“I see a lot of the things that we saw in the second half last year,” Davis said. “The first half last year, he was dropping under his fastball. Everything was up. It was straight. The second time around, guys didn’t miss it. He got himself in trouble and I think he started 0-9. Then he got back on top of the ball and he has a good curveball and changeup that he can throw at any time.”
Gutierrez was also number four on MLB Pipeline’s International Prospects list when he defected and the Reds signed him. Gutierrez got $4.75 million in September of 2016.
He is still very young, turning just 24 in September.
Even with the struggles, Davis still sees lots of promise in the young right hander.
“He is a young guy and needs experience,” Davis said. “He needs to keep going out there and keep learning. I think he is learning a lot from the other guys. I think that will help him.”
Davis is right that he needs to learn, but Gutierrez also desperately needs consistency. His stuff plays well, he just needs to work with it consistently.