Photo: Doug GrayCincinnati Reds #14 Prospect: Vladimir Gutierrez Doug Gray November 27, 2019 12 Comments Vladimir Gutierrez has moved up one level at a time since signing with the Cincinnati Reds. He spent all of 2017 in Daytona where he posted a 4.46 ERA. In 2018 he spent the entire season with Double-A Pensacola where he posted a 4.35 ERA. In both seasons he started out slow, but pitched better in the second half. The 2019 season began for Vladimir Gutierrez in Triple-A with the Louisville Bats. The first two starts for the right-handed pitcher went well. Against Toledo and Gwinnett he allowed two earned runs in each start, spanning 10.1 innings with just two walks. The rest of the month, though, was a big struggle. He gave up nine earned runs in the next two starts, and then didn’t make it out of the 1st inning, while walking five batters and giving up three hits to round out the month against Norfolk. For the month he posted an 8.14 ERA in 21.0 innings with 11 walks and just 14 strikeouts. May didn’t begin on a high note as the Cuban righty failed to strike out a batter for the second consecutive start, walking two batters in 4.0 innings with six earned runs allowed against Indianapolis. Gutierrez rebounded well the next time out, striking out seven against Syracuse while giving up just two runs in 6.0 innings. They got their revenge the next time out a week later, touching up Gutierrez for five home runs and nine total runs in 4.0 innings. His final two starts of the month saw him allow eight more runs over 12.0 innings. That would give him an 8.65 ERA in 26.0 innings with six walks and 16 strikeouts for May. June got out to a good start. Each of the first two games for Vladimir Gutierrez saw him pitch 6.0 innings and he allowed four earned runs between the two games. It was the third start of the month that was a struggle for Gutierrez as he allowed six earned in 1.2 innings with three walks and two strikeouts. The following two starts saw the right-handed starter give up just two earned in 12.2 innings with 13 strikeouts. But the month ended with six earned in 6.0 innings against Columbus. That brought his ERA up to 5.01 on the month in 32.1 innings. He had nine walks and 29 strikeouts in his six starts during the month. The first two starts of July saw Vladimir Gutierrez struggle as he allowed nine earned runs, and three more homers, in 10.0 innings against Columbus and Toledo. He rebounded in a road start against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, giving up just one run – on another home run – in 6.0 innings. But that success didn’t last as he didn’t make it out of the second inning the next start, walking four batters along the way. In the last start of the month he gave up two more home runs, but only three earned runs in 6.1 innings against Toledo. It was another month of struggles and inconsistency as the righty posted a 6.00 ERA in 24.0 innings with eight walks and 17 strikeouts. August would go down as the best month of the year for Vladimir Gutierrez, by far. But it didn’t start out with his best start, as he allowed five earned in 5.0 innings with four walks in 5.0 innings against Toledo. He turned things around the next time out, allowing a run in 6.0 innings on a solo homer against Rochester on the 9th. On the 15th he picked up 10 strikeouts in 6.0 innings while giving up a run against Lehigh Valley. Columbus would prove to be a thorn in his side on the 20th as he allowed five earned while walking three, hitting two batters, and giving up two homers in 4.2 innings. But he closed out the season with two outstanding starts, including his final one where he struck out a career best 13 hitters against Toledo. For the month his ERA was 3.74 over 33.2 innings. He also struck out 41 batters in the month. For all 2019 Season Reviews and Scouting Reports – click here (these will come out during the week throughout the offseason). Vladimir Gutierrez Scouting Report Position: Right-handed pitcher | B/T: R/R Height: 6′ 0″ | Weight: 190 lbs | Acquired: International FA 2016 Born: September 18, 1995 Fastball | Arguably his worst offering, his fastball works 92-94 and touches 95 most days and a tick higher every so often. Curveball | It’s an above-average offering with 12-6 breaking action that works in the mid-70’s. Change Up | His third offering, but it flashes above-average at times and is a solid pitch. While most pitchers in Triple-A struggled in 2019 thanks to the baseball flying like it was in space rather than on Earth with quite a bit more gravity, Vladimir Gutierrez really struggled. His ERA was 6.04 – which was 1.14 higher than the league average. When looking at his stuff, he’s got three average or better offerings. And he can carry that for a full season, and through each of his starts. On paper, that’s the makings of a starter. But in his three years as a professional, he’s been more hittable than the raw stuff would suggest. The fastball has solid velocity, but it can be a little bit straight at times – making it the most hittable of his offerings. The curveball is a swing-and-miss pitch and it’s one he goes to when he wants to put a hitter away. It will play at the next level. The big question is how the other two offerings will, at least as a starter. If Vladimir Gutierrez has to move to the bullpen, it could be interesting to see what happens with his fastball and how he could perform. He’s got the stuff to be a middle to back of the rotation starter. He throws strikes with three pitches. But the consistency has been a bit of an issue for his entire professional career, too. He’ll be 24-years-old next season, so there’s still time for him to work as a starter and find whatever it is for him to take that next step. He’s going to need to find it, though, to start in the rotation. He’s now three years into his career and his ERA is 4.98 in 73 starts. The stuff has always looked better than the results. That only goes so far, though. Interesting Stat on Vladimir Gutierrez He showed fairly big splits. In 2019 he had 17 walks and 76 strikeouts against right-handed hitters. Against left-handed hitters he had 31 walks and 41 strikeouts. Lefties also had an OPS 80 points higher. One more interesting tidbit – he hit 12 righties and only one lefty. Like past seasons, he did improve as the season went along, but it wasn’t until August that he really put together a good run of starts. This article was first sent out to those who support the site over on Patreon. Early access is one of the perks that you could get be joining up as a Patron and supporting the work done here at RedsMinorLeagues.com. Share this:FacebookTwitterRedditPocket 12 Responses rgslone November 27, 2019 If velocity alone is not enough to make a good fastball, are there things a pitcher like Gutierrez can do to get more deceptive movement on his fastball; and if so, will the changes likely lead to a noticeable drop in velocity? Is this same issue of the fastball being “too straight” the reason some pitchers choose to go with a split-finger fastball? Oldtimer November 27, 2019 Modern analytics tends to Pooh-Pooh the ERA stat anyway. 2020 will be a Put Up Or Shut Up year for him. Stock November 27, 2019 Things keep evolving. Go to the Fangraphs article I mentioned below. Shafer had a 3.86 ERA for Toronto last year but a 5.18 FIP and a 5.67 xFIP. The FIP and xFIP stats say Shafer was very lucky last year. But Fangraphs, and hopefully the Reds, are ahead of the curve here and says Shafer was actually very unlucky. Fangraphs point to his .484 SLG% vs his .403 xSLG% and his .355 wOBA vs his xwOBA of .314. I guess this gives him a xwOPS of .717 which I think would be back end of the bullpen stuff. I love Shafer’s September. His command was better. 63% of his pitches were K’s in September. His September BB/9 IP was 3.1.For the remainder of the year these ratios were 59%/6.4. I don’t know if this trade will work out. I love the fact that the Reds saw value in Shafer though. Jocketty would have never traded for Shafer. Colorado Red November 27, 2019 He is really no risk. Only have cash for him. If it works out, great, if not, no big deal. Oldtimer November 27, 2019 Reds paid $ only. Same way Reds sold Mike Cuellar in early 1960s. Cuellar went on to be star SP in MLB. Dan November 27, 2019 What does a straight fastball mean now? Scouts used to talk glowingly about sink and run, but it seems like that type of fastball is out of vogue in today’s game. Does straight mean a middling spin rate that doesn’t much sink or rise? Doug Gray November 27, 2019 Straight means exactly what it always has – it lacks good movement. Dan November 27, 2019 No offense, it just seems like there’s a more descriptive way of saying that. I’m assuming both would fall under the straight category, but a sinker that doesn’t sink is different than a 4 seamer that doesn’t ride. It would be nice to know which end of the spectrum he’s missing on. Doug Gray November 27, 2019 A sinker that doesn’t sink isn’t a sinker at all. A fsatball that’s straight is just that – straight. That would mean it’s missing action on all spectrums. Oldtimer November 27, 2019 A sinker that doesn’t sink is called a home run. Stock November 27, 2019 Good Red’s post on Fangraphs, especially if you feel Votto is toast. https://fantasy.fangraphs.com/a-closer-look-cincinnati-reds/ And another on the Reds adds thus far, especially the add of Shafer. https://blogs.fangraphs.com/the-reds-have-been-busy/ Bill November 28, 2019 Nice articles. Thanks for the tip.