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.

Born: 9/18/1995

Bats/Throws: Right/Right

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.

ZiPS Projections | Steamer Projections | Marcels Projections

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.

19 Responses

  1. CP

    I didn’t realize that Vlad was quite so close to the majors. It’s encouraging to see that he will likely be starting the year in AAA. It’s kind of crazy to think of the SP depth that will probably be developing and waiting in the wings this year.

    Mahle
    Reed
    Santillan
    Vlad
    ?

    Who do you guys think fills that 5 spot?

    Reply
    • Hotto4Votto

      Sims would be my best guess at this point, assuming Romano is in the ML bullpen. Of course Jose Lopez is returning as a starter as well, and they signed Despaigne as a minor league FA who’s got a good amount of experience as a starter.

      Reply
    • BK

      Barring injuries, my projected Louisville rotation is:
      1. Reed (1 option)
      2. Mahle (2 options)
      3. Sims (1 option)
      4. Gutierrez (not on 40-man roster)
      5. Mella (1 option)

      I expect Santillan to start at AA, but he gets promoted and bumps Mella to the bullpen with a strong start at Chattanooga.

      Louisville bullpen:
      1. Romano (1 option)
      2. Finnegan (1 option)
      3. Peralta (2 options)
      4. Bowman (2 options)
      5. Stephens (1 option)
      6. Lopez (2 options)
      7. Reyes (2 options)
      8. Herget (3 options)

      Reply
      • CP

        I like that you included the options each have. That’s helpful. Does this mean you are assuming that Bob Steve makes the Reds bullpen with Romano and Reed in AAA?

        I honestly would like to see him get a shot in the bullpen this year. He’s still so young and has so much talent.

      • BK

        I think Robert Stephenson and Matt Wisler make the Reds in the bullpen as of today. Both have good enough stuff that I think they would be quickly claimed if the Reds tried the DFA route.

    • LWBlogger2

      I don’t see Stephenson in AAA this year. I think he makes the Reds out of spring training and is in the bullpen, or he is claimed off waivers by another team. He may play at AAA at some point but I don’t think it will be for the Reds in Louisville.

      Reply
      • Oldtimer

        Stephenson has little experience in bullpen. Virtually none in MiLB but a little bit in MLB. His problem is wildness (too many walks). Wildness is not a good thing for a RP. He has pitched 7 years in MiLB with little to show for it.

      • BK

        Absolutely, the walks are killing Stephenson’s performance. That’s why the bullpen makes sense … concentrate on his two best pitches for now and build consistency. I’m not sure what your point is about 7 years. He was signed out of high school. If he had gone the college route, he would be at the 4-year point. I also agree that the Reds should have shifted him to a relief role last year at AAA. He’s 25, and running out of time for sure, but he’s not quite there yet.

  2. Hotto4Votto

    Vlad’s peripherals have outpaced his actual production both seasons with the Reds. I think there’s some untapped upside there with him. He doesn’t walk many guys, doesn’t allow many home runs, and strikes out a decent amount of guys. He does a lot of the things you want to see from a young pitcher. Excited to see how he does at AAA this year.

    Reply
  3. WVRedlegs

    I didn’t know, or had forgotten Gutierrez cost the Reds an additional $4.5MM fee to MLB. And an 0additional $6MM to MLB for Jose Garcia. That makes it $9MM for Gutierrez, $12MM for Garcia and $7MM for a total expenditure of $28MM for 3 Cubans that probably never make Reds 25 man roster.
    Good thing MLB is going to change these IFA rules. I can see why there were major changes within the Reds IFA and drafting departments.

    Reply
    • Doug Gray

      Gutierrez is going to pitch for the Reds. Garcia’s far more talented than his numbers last year suggest.

      Reply
      • Brian

        He should have just put Alf-rod as an example. That signed looked peculiar at the time and sure has aged badly

      • WVRedlegs

        Money for nothing, (and your chicks for free).
        They could have paid their minor leaguers a living wage for the next 12 years with that money.
        Can you really justify these signings??

      • Doug Gray

        Yes, because if one of these guys turns into even a league average player, then the team saves tens of millions of dollars over the course of their career with the team versus paying a free agent to replace that value. If the player turns into more than that, then you’re really saving enormous amounts of dollars.

  4. Old-school

    How much of an effect does the Louisville stadium inflate AAA pitchers. Jesse Winker was criticized for prolonged stretches with no HR.
    He then hits a a lot more at GABP in limited time and had that moon shot in ST last year. Does the pitcher friendly Louisville park inflate Reds pitchers stats?

    Reply
  5. The Duke

    Vlad Gut has the tools. Stature is on the smaller side, but he’s progressed innings wise over the last 2 years after the long layoff and has held up fairly well. He’s even been stronger in the 2nd half. If this year he can put a compete season together, I could see him as a back end top 100 guy heading into next year. That’s probably a best case scenario though.

    Santillan will definitely start this year in AA. All the guys above him need to be sorted, and he has all of 62.1 IP above A ball.

    Reply
    • LWBlogger2

      That’s where I think Santillan will start the year too.

      Reply

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