In this ongoing series that will last most of spring training, we’re going to look at each player that will be in Major League camp with the Cincinnati Reds. Each post will have some information on the player. There will be some background information, profiling, projections, and more. To see all of the posts in the series, you can click here. Today we are going to look at starting pitcher Vladimir Gutierrez.
Vladimir Gutierrez’ Background
Acquired: Signed as an international free agent in 2016 by the Cincinnati Reds.
Height/Weight: 6′ 0″ / 190 lbs.
Years of MLB Experience: None
Born in Cuba, Vladimir Gutierrez pitched in the professional league in Cuba as a 17 and 18-year-old, posting a 3.27 ERA before defecting and leaving the country. He would sign with Cincinnati for $4.75M as a free agent – and the team paid that same amount to Major League Baseball in a penalty for going over their “allotment” of money in the international bonus pool. He’s spent an entire season since signing in Advanced-A and Double-A over the last two years.
Vladimir Gutierrez’ 2018 Season
The 2018 season for Vladimir Gutierrez was spent entirely at the Double-A level. And really, his season was a tale of two halves. In his first 11 starts of the season he posted a 6.75 ERA in 54.2 innings with 10 home runs allowed, 15 walks, and 49 strikeouts. Batters posted an .825 OPS against him in that span. In the final 16 starts of the year he posted a 2.92 ERA in 92.1 innings with 8 home runs allowed, 23 walks, and 96 strikeouts. Opposing hitters had just a .616 OPS against him in that span. The 22-year-old finished the year with 147.0 innings and a 4.35 ERA with 145 strikeouts and 38 walks.
Vladimir Gutierrez’ Playing History
Vladimir Gutierrez has been playing professionally since he was 17, going back to the 2014 season in Cuba. He has only pitched in two seasons in the United State, though. In 2017 he made his debut within the Reds organization as a 21-year-old in Advanced-A Daytona. Then last year he spent the year in Double-A with Pensacola, as noted above.
Projecting Vladimir Gutierrez for 2019
Vladimir Gutierrez is one of the teams top pitching prospects, and a Top 10 prospect overall – coming in at #8 now that trades have taken place throughout the offseason. Without Triple-A experience, and with a lot of starting depth, it’s tough to see an immediate opening for Gutierrez in the Major Leagues. With that said, he’ll likely start in Triple-A, which means he’s always a call away.
How could Vladimir Gutierrez fit in Cincinnati in 2019?
As noted above, with the starting pitching depth ahead of him, it’s unlikely that Vladimir Gutierrez is going to make the team out of the spring. It would likely take some injuries to open up a spot for him along with outstanding performance on his part. He’s got some strengths in his game, with the biggest perhaps behind that he pounds the strikezone. He’s not really struggled to throw strikes in his career except when he was 17-years-old and pitching at the highest level of baseball in Cuba against grown men. But he’s also never really had a full season of success in his two years in the United States. He will be down the depth chart among starters, and the team probably won’t likely look at him as a reliever during 2019. If he’s going to see action in the Majors in 2019 it will very likely be towards the end of the year due to depth in the rotation.