Vladimir Gutierrez signed with the Cincinnati Reds last September for $4.75M. That actually costs the Reds twice as much as they had to pay a 100% tax on that to Major League Baseball for already being over their international bonus pool allotment. With the late signing, he did not get a chance to pitch in 2016. After spring training he was assigned to the Daytona Tortugas in the Florida State League.

On Saturday afternoon the Cuban right hander took the mound against the Florida Fire Frogs in his debut. Things did not start out well for Vladimir Gutierrez. In the first inning he allowed three runs on three hits, a hit batter and two walks. All of that came before recording his second out of the inning. The bullpen actually saw Austin Orewiler get up and start loosening. The 21-year-old buckled down and struck out the final two batters he saw in the inning.

After that point, everything was smooth sailing. In his final 4.1 innings, Vladimir Gutierrez allowed two hits, walked no one, struck out six batters and gave up no runs. It was that first third of an inning that had all of the problems within it.

On Sunday I spoke with a few people about what they saw from Vladimir Gutierrez on the day. Here was the scouting report on his stuff in his debut:

Fastball | He showed both a 2 and 4-seam fastball. The 2-seamer worked 91-93 and showed good movement. His 4-seamer was 94-95 and topped out at 97 MPH.

Curveball | Power curveball in the low 80’s with tight breaking action.

Change Up | Low 80’s that showed some good separation from the fastball and sink to it.

It was the change up that stood out the most to one person I spoke with. Not so much because it was the best offering, because it wasn’t, but that he showed so much confidence in throwing it and he went to it frequently despite not having thrown it much in Cuba.

The fastball and curveball both showed themselves as consistently above-average offerings in the game. The change up was more advanced than expected and while it was inconsistent at times, at it’s best it flashed as above-average.

There were some ups-and-downs in the start for Vladimir Gutierrez. The downs came early and he went out there and made the adjustment and never looked back on Saturday. It will be interesting to see how things go for him later this week when he takes the mound again. He’ll be on the mound at home in Daytona the next time out.

Baseball America’s Ben Badler was also at the game and has a good article up over there, but it requires a subscription to Baseball America to read. If you have that, you should go check it out.