"I feel I had a pretty good year," Hutchison said. "I think I exceeded some expectations. Personally I met some goals that I wanted to and I was able to play on some winning teams so it was a lot of fun."
Labeling it a "pretty good year" doesn't do his 2011 season enough justice though. He went 14-5 with a 2.53 ERA between low-A, high-A, and Double-A, and struck out 171 batters in just 149 1/3 innings.
While he did surprise some folks, he didn't surprise himself.
"No, not really," he said. "You always believe in yourself first and foremost or you wouldn't be able to perform. I've always believed in myself and my abilities. I just try to go out there, play hard and compete and let everything take care of itself."
It's that kind of no nonsense approach that served him well this year. While he continued to work on his breaking pitches in particular, his plan of attack was quite simple.
"You don't worry about strikeouts," he added. "You just go right after guys and try and get early contact and outs, and if you get ahead it's a lot easier to put them away once you get ahead in the count. I think that had a lot to do with it.
"Towards the end of the year my slider started to get more depth on it, which is something I had been trying to address with some of the coaches. I feel like I did a better job of that towards the end of the year."
While his signature sinking two-seam fastball was his main pitch, he also mixed in a quality changeup and a four-seam fastball that would routinely hit as high as 94 mph just about every game.
Just like his get ahead approach on the mound, he employs the same philosophy with his development and that means keep working on his ever-developing slider.
"I was down there for a week [at Instructs] to work on my slider to get that depth and clean it up a little bit, and try to get it consistent. That's the thing I felt I did better at the end of the year, the consistency on it. Some games it would be there and some games it wouldn't be.
"I'm just trying to get it to the point where it's consistent every night with good depth on it. Sometimes it gets too flat and when it gets flattened out it's not exactly what you want.
"I was down at Instructs to get it tight and get the depth on it. I feel like I'm making some strides with it like I was at the end of the year. It got a lot better."
He leaves his standing among the better pitching prospects in the game to the pundits. He doesn't concern himself with such accolades and he doesn't get bogged down with numbers either, and he doesn't plan on changing that approach anytime soon.
"I think for me it was just going out there and competing, and having fun, just giving your team a chance to win every night you go out there to pitch. It's fun when you get to play on good teams with great players.
"[My goal was] just to get better everyday, work on some things, and just to become a more complete pitcher. I feel like I did do that."
Drew Hutchison had about as good a year this season as a pitching prospect could possibly have at the minor league level, not only advancing three levels but dominating every step of the way. While there are better arms out there few match his tenacity and pitch-ability, and he credits his success with getting ahead.
Hutchison Getting Ahead
Drew Hutchison had a fantastic first full season in 2011 and he did it by getting ahead.
Hutchison has a simple plan of attack
Nov 3, 2011