Vladimir Gutierrez signed with the Cincinnati Reds last August for $4.75M. He didn’t pitch during the 2016 Minor League season as he signed so late. The Reds brought him to instructional league, but he didn’t pitch in games there, either. Instead he pitched on the side and worked with the coaches.

After spring training in 2017 the Reds assigned Vladimir Gutierrez to the Daytona Tortugas. His first two starts in the Florida State League, and his first two professional starts period, were a bit rough. The right hander threw 4.2 innings in each start. In those 9.1 innings he allowed nine earned runs on 15 hits, a hit batter and four walks. He did strike out nine of the 45 batters that he faced in that span.

In the three starts he’s made since then, Vladimir Gutierrez has dominated. On April 20th and 27th he tossed 5.0 innings in each game. Over those 10.0 innings he allowed one earned run on eight hits, no walks and he struck out 14 of the 39 batters he faced. Last night he continued that trend. The 21-year-old threw 7.0 innings on 86 pitches with 66 strikes. He did allow two runs on five hits, but he didn’t walk anyone and he added nine more strikeouts. The Cuban born righty set career highs in both innings and strikeouts in the start. In these three starts he now has 23 strikeouts with no walks and he’s faced 65 batters.

For the season a 4.10 ERA for Vladimir Gutierrez doesn’t rank anywhere near the top of the league. However, he currently ranks 5th in the Florida State League in strikeouts in 32, and the four guys ahead of him all have more innings. Among the 67 players with at least 17.0 innings pitched in the league, Gutierrez ranks 4th with a 8.0 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Teammate Jose Lopez ranks 3rd in this category (9.0).

The Cuban Connection

Wednesday night was a big one for Vladimir Gutierrez, but teammate Alfredo Rodriguez also had a big night. The shortstop went 2-4 with a double, run and 2 RBI on the night. His double drove in two as the Tortugas put up a 5-run 1st inning. Rodriguez had been in a big slump over the previous nine games, going 2-34 (.059). He did have three walks and just five strikeouts in that span, but the hits just weren’t coming.

He had started out the season by hitting .283 over the first 15 games, but things went downhill quickly after that. Hopefully Wednesday night gets things back on track.