By Tim Fitzgerald
For the second time in franchise history, the
Vallejo Admirals have produced the Rookie of the Year in the Pacific Association of Professional Baseball Clubs.
Pitcher Marquis Hutchinson edged out the competition to capture the title of Rookie of the Year. He began the season in the Admirals bullpen, but eventually made 11 starts among his 19 appearances.
Hutchinson went 6-5 with a 3.61 ERA in 89 and 2/3 innings pitched in 2016, and opponents hit just .257 against the lanky right hander. His best stretch of the season came in three starts between July 26th and August 6th, when he went at least seven innings in each start. He came up just one out short of a complete game in the third game of that three-game stretch, allowing no earned runs in eight and 2/3 innings pitched, while striking out seven batters to just two walks.
When asked his initial reaction to winning the Rookie of the Year Award, Hutchinson responded, “This is wonderful! My hard work is paying off.”
The Rookie out of Talladega College was born in the Bronx, but grew up in St. Petersburg, Florida. “Hutch” — as he is known by his Admirals teammates — is the father of two young children, and he reflected on what winning the Rookie of the Year award represents in the bigger picture of his life.
“This award wasn’t expected, but I can honestly say that I’m truly blessed,” Hutchinson commented. “Winning this award helps me prove to my children that by staying focused and working hard, anything is possible. It’s a reminder to keep going hard and to keep growing and evolving, not only as a player but as a man.”
Folks within the Admirals organization always noted how well Hutchinson carried himself and seemed more mature than most rookies.
Player-Manager P.J. Phillips enjoyed getting to manage Hutchinson this season. “He’s a good pitcher that makes adjustments real quickly,” Phillips said. “He’s a very coachable player that loves to compete and wants to get better.”
Phillips noted the upside with his young pitcher and the literal room to grow for the 6-foot-1 170 pounder, “For him not pitching very long or having much professional coaching, just imagine if he puts on 10-15 pounds, the boy can be really special if he keeps working hard and being a good teammate to others,” Phillips said. “He can do big things, and I could see him moving up quickly.”
Hutchinson came to the Admirals from the South Florida Winter League were former manager Mike Samuels saw him pitch.
Like any ball player at this level, he is looking to move higher up the ladder in professional baseball. But he said he would be happy to return to Vallejo next season, and if he could do it all over again, he wouldn’t want to play anywhere else than Vallejo.
The Admirals previous Rookie of the Year Winner was current Pittsburg Diamonds outfielder Jordan Hinshaw, who hit .339 with 12 home runs and 18 stolen bases in 2014.
More Pacific Association Awards will be announced next week. Hutchinson is also a nominee for Pitcher of the Year in the Pacific Association, centerfielder Darian Sandford is a finalist for the MVP award, and Player-Manager P.J. Phillips is a finalist for the Manager of the Year Award.
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