ARLINGTON, Texas – Drew Hutchison doesnt dwell when things go poorly, so it should come as no surprise that he isnt basking in the afterglow of his first career major league complete game and shutout. If he is, he isnt showing it. "For the most part its just go out there and compete," Hutchison told TSN.ca. "Thats what I love to do, naturally, is compete. Go against other guys and win." The 23-year-old is coming into his own, navigating through the ups and downs of what he hopes will be his first full season with the Blue Jays. His performance on Friday night was just his second win of the year but a closer look at the statistics suggests Hutchison has been one of the clubs most reliable pitchers. With the nine scoreless innings, his ERA dropped from 4.37 to 3.64. His Fielding Independent Pitching statistic (FIP), which calculates a more accurate portrait of a pitchers ERA based on factors only he can control, dropped from 3.14 to 2.96. "Whatever point you want to make you can twist them and contort them to back you up kind of thing," said Hutchison of statistical analysis. "Good or bad, either way. They are just kind of what they are but if you do all the other things and work hard and compete I feel like everything else falls in line." But his FIP suggests he deserves more than his two wins and has been better than his ERA, which itself is more than respectable. Sometimes games, or certain innings, take on a particular feel. A pitcher gets into trouble and before the damage is done, you can sense it unraveling. With Hutchison that isnt the case. There have been nights when hes struggled, including his second-to-last start against the Angels when he walked four and allowed three runs in 4 1/3 innings, but Hutchisons body language always portrays control. "I take a lot of pride in that," said Hutchison. "Sometimes youre just not going to have it. A big focus for me is what separates guys from being good, mediocre and great. It seems like you can watch a great pitcher and you can see they dont have it but they still go eight innings and sometimes they have better nights when they have their best stuff. That to me is something I want to get to that point where I can do that." "Hes got a good arm but hes a pitcher, too, hes not just out there throwing," said manager John Gibbons. "Guys like that, theyre one pitch away from getting out of something. Its the guys who are just rearing back and dont know where its going all the time, those are the guys who are really vulnerable." Hutchison cant remember when he first picked up a baseball. He was pitching by the time he was seven years old but, then again, so are a lot of kids who take turns on the mound between playing different positions. "I just always loved baseball since I was real young," said Hutchison. "Just always just drawn to it." Hutchison, born in 1990 in Lakeland, Florida, started out as a fan of the Atlanta Braves. Who could blame him? The Braves had great teams in the mid-to-late 1990s and the future hurler was drawn to the work of Greg Maddux, John Smoltz and Tom Glavine as he watched games on TBS. He counts Craig Biggio, Pedro Martinez and Chipper Jones as players he looked up to in his youth. Hutchison, like most big leaguers, excelled at the game from an early age but he has a distinct memory of when he believed he could carve out a career in baseball. "I always believed I could but I think it kind of sank in that I actually had a shot probably in high school," said Hutchison. "I saw some guys who were older than me from our high school get drafted to good Division I colleges and things like that so I knew it was a possibility. I would say the summer before my senior year I really knew, hey, you actually have a chance." Fastball command is the name of Hutchisons game. He can hoof it up there at 94, 95 miles per hour but his career average fastball velocity is 91.7 miles per hour. He has to locate consistently or hell get hit. He was at it on Friday night, throwing first pitch strikes to 21 of 30 Rangers hitters. "I think theres definitely, some of its what youre born with, God given," said Hutchison of his ability to paint the corners. "At the same time you dont just walk out there and throw strikes. You can struggle like anybody else on any given day. Ive always had a good feel for it. Its just kind of how its been." Hutchisons gone at least eight innings in two of his last three starts. On May 6 in Philadelphia, Hutchison had a 5-0 lead headed to the sixth. He coughed it up, capped by a Cody Asche grand slam that followed a two out walk, but because hed pitched efficiently he was able to go back out for the seventh and eighth. He worked three up, three down innings in both. The Blue Jays would win 6-5 in 10 innings. "Those are the type of games, you have to do that for your team," said Hutchison. "To suck up the innings and bounce back and show youve moved on. Once things have happened it doesnt do you any good to think about it. You can only continue to grind and try to get through it. "Games like that, they suck," he continued. "The fact that you went up and you gave up a five-run lead, which is something that should never, ever happen. Especially that late in the game, you should never even let it get to that point but once you do you have to do that." What about goals, aside from the obvious? A 20-win season? "See thats another thing, so much of thats out of your control," said Hutchison. "For me, number one, obviously, is just to stay healthy just because of what happened in the past. In my head I know Im fine. Its not even an issue." Anything else? "I have my goals but theyre something thats just me," said Hutchison. "I dont really get into it with anybody. People would think Im crazy." 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"And that was just a clear signal and why it was time to make those changes.At this moment early in the month of June, about three-plus weeks before the draft, Dave Morrison, the Maple Leafs director of amateur scouting, is thumbing through an update on Dominic Toninato, a fifth round pick from the previous summer. A lengthy pivot from the Minnesota high school system, Toninato starred for the Fargo Force of the USHL this past season and will join fellow Leafs product Tony Cameranesi at the University of Minnesota-Duluth next season. Morrison will helm his eighth draft for the organization this coming Sunday in Newark, a brief day in the spotlight following a year of tireless preparation. Hired in the summer of 2006 by then-general manager John Ferguson Jr., Morrison quietly steers the inner workings of the Torontos pipeline, a hefty trove of prospects, scouts and information to manage before briefly surfacing once a year in June. Success in the scouting field is not measured in days, weeks, or months, but typically in years. The rewards of his first draft as the Leafs head scout are only beginning to bloom seven years later. All but one of the seven players selected that day at the 2006 draft in Vancouver have made it to the NHL, four of those six – James Reimer, Nik Kulemin, Leo Komarov, and Korbinian Holzer – suiting up for the Leafs this past season. "Patience," Morrison says of the job requirements in conversation with TSN.ca earlier this month. "You need to be patient." Morrison and his scouting staff spend upwards of year (and usually longer with those in their underage year) dissecting the annual horde of draft-eligible prospects. Their prime objective is to obtain as much data as possible on prospective draftees, thus educating and improving their chances for success in the lottery that is the draft. The more information they compile the better they can understand the prospect – not only his talents on the ice, but his personality, willingness to improve, willingness to work, rapport with teammates and coaches – and project his potential as an NHL prospect. "Put it this way," Morrison said, "the longer or the bigger the book the better." The hunts hinges on one fundamental question. "The number one criteria," explained Morrison, who previously worked with Toronto general manager Dave Nonis in Vancouver, "is that you think they have NHL potential and theyre going to develop into NHL players. That is really the overriding factor when we rank the players and pick them. Whether theyre in the CHL or in Minnesota high school or in the Eastern Junior Hockey League in New England, the overriding thing is that we really believe in their potential." Morrison and a network of more than 13 amateur scouts are scouring for "indicators" that will help to demonstrate whether or not a prospect has a better than average chance to develop into an NHL player. Those indicators range from hockey sense, competitiveness and skating ability to "intestinal fortitude". In Morgan Rielly for example – the fifth overall pick in 2012 – screaming indicators of his potential were seen in his swiftness and sly movements on skates, his hands and "ability to process the game". Top-end prospects of his kind typically project well in a number of categories. Morrison, who began his scouting career under Ron Delorme with the Canucks, recalled the advice his more senior peers once offered, "...make sure they have at least one skill that you can hang your hat on, thats really, really good and that its NHL-caliber," he said of the scouting agenda. "And that might be their shot, it might be their hockey sense, it might be their skating ability, it might be their toughness, but they have to have a particular skill ... you have to believe that they can make the NHL with a certain skill-set." Projections also include an assessment of the prospects physical build – whether hell mature into someone who can physically withstand the 82-game grind and postseason – and mental makeup, determining the quality of his character and whether he has the drive to improve. Groundwork of this kind is gleaned from the scouts, who conduct full interviews with targeted prospects throughout the season. Questions of character as well as mental makeup and stability can be gauged from these meetings along with any potential red flags that need to be addressed. Months later at the NHL Combine in early June, management teams are granted 15 minutes for yet another face-to-face, but by this time most of the desired questions have already been asked. "You just want to meet them," Morrison said of what amounts to a final job interview, "get a feel for them a little bit. I dont think, obviously, that a 15-minute interview at the Combine is going to give you a 100 per cent indication of who they are and what they are. You get an impression. And I think you have to be careful not to get too high or too low from any type of impression you get whether its good or bad." Phil Kessel, selected fifth overall in the 2006 draft, is known to have done poorly in the interview process, but has grown into a top-10 scoring talent nonetheless, albeit for Toronto and not the Boston organization that drafted him. So while of value, character cant necessarily override talent though it does play a considerable role in the evaluation and selection process. The determination often hinges on the culture and environment of the team; an organization with a stable dressing room for example may take the chance on a prospect with supposed "character" issues. "...one of the important skill-sets is between the ears and that one is a tough one to measure because they can be the best skill players in the world," Morrison opined, "[but] if they dont have the right character and makeup and certain confidence levels its not going to happen." As the Leafs scouting leader, Morrison prefers to see those draft-eligible prospects of interest at least three times in person; once early in the season and then twice more after Christmas. By spacing out the live assessments, Morrison believes hes better equipped to measure progress of the prospect or if applicable, regression. "Its not like Im doing it myself," he said, noting the fieldwork of his scouts. "Those guys are out there in the trenches ... they do a lot of invaluable work for me." The army of scouts under the Maple Leafs umbrella (like so many others across the league) log tireless hours on the road across a sea of rinks – from the Western League to Europe – collecting first-hand impressions, judgments and game reports of prospective draftees in an online scouting ssoftware system known as RinkNet.ddddddddddddIts a sifting process that requires meticulous detail and know-how of the various progressions a prospect may go through. Not only are scouts on the lookout for the assets and skills of the individual but his improvement throughout the year. "When I go to one of my area scouts they need to know their area, they need to know those players," Morrison declared. If for instance, a prospect logged time on the power-play in one game and suddenly not the next, Morrison expects his scouts to know or find out why. "My guys are pretty good at that," he said. "They know. And if they dont know theyre going to find out right away." Scouting meetings take place in January during which the organization begins officially ranking the prospects, a list that comprises five-plus rounds worth of players. They initiate the process by ranking within regions (OHL for example) before eventually moving onto a more general breakdown of Europe and North America. Its an engaging and ongoing discussion, with scouts and management alike debating the merits and potential of prospects, some favoured, others not quite so much. "I think theres times I have to break the tie," Morrison said of the rankings. "[But] Ill wait until weve exhausted everyones opinions and arguments before Ill do that. We have a good group of guys that work really hard and I want to make sure they have the ability to use their voice on players. At some point sometimes you have to make a decision. Sometimes its just me. Sometimes theres certain scouts that might be going through this process in our meetings, they come to a conclusion themselves and I can see that thats whats happening. Its quite a process actually we go through." The list evolves throughout the course of the season because as Morrison put it, "a lot of kids are totally flying under the radar and may not become players until January". In some cases, a player will return from the Christmas break and resemble someone much different, perhaps reeking of a previously unseen confidence and potential. "And thats when we have to dig a little deeper and find out perhaps why it took so long and is it for real," he continued. By the time draft week comes round, the framework for the list is about 98-99 per cent complete. Reconvening as a staff in Newark earlier this week, the Leafs will firm up their rankings in the hours before the draft. Theyll run through mock scenarios of how they believe things might play out, make a series of last-minute phone calls to procure any added information and meet with a few of the players, some they havent had the opportunity to meet with, others theyd like to meet with once more. Predicting who might be available with the 21st selection is thought to be difficult in whats widely perceived to be a deep crop of prospects though by draft night the organization expects to have a pretty good idea of whom they might be able to land within a certain range of players. In some instances, a player might slide further than was expected as was the case with Matt Finn, the Leafs second round pick last summer. Finn was projected in many circles, including Toronto, as a first round pick, but slid to the 35th spot. In almost all cases, the Leafs will draft the best available player, straying for need only if the difference between two players is so slim that a margin hardly exists at all. By the end of seven rounds, a years worth of work is finally complete, but the process is really only just beginning. From there, its all about development, a process led in Toronto by director of player development Jim Hughes. Hughes will stay in constant communication with the organizations cache of prospects throughout the year. He and Morrison will touch base at least once a week for updates on the process. The development curve for each prospect is different. In rare cases – typically at the very top end of a draft – a prospect might be ready to contribute right away. Selected with the fifth overall pick in 2008, Luke Schenn for example, stepped into the NHL as an 18-year-old. Nazem Kadri, selected seventh overall a year later, required considerably more time, just completing his first extended NHL tour in 2013. "It mightve took Nazem a little bit longer to get there for various reasons," Morrison observed, "but the fact that hes there and hes becoming the player that we all hoped he would be is the important thing." Since 2006, Toronto has drafted and developed 12 players into the NHL. They are a group of productive talents – Schenn, Kadri, James Reimer, Carl Gunnarsson and Nik Kulemin among them – but not quite stars. And if there is one failing of the organizations drafting record in the past 20 years it is just that. The Leafs simply havent had the good fortune of striking gold or hitting the home run in the draft, like Pittsburgh did with Kris Letang in 2005 (62nd overall) or Chicago with Duncan Keith (54th) in 2002. In fact, since 1992 the Leafs have sent only two homegrown players to the All-Star game, Felix Potvin and the now unemployed defenceman Tomas Kaberle. Arguably the best draft pick the club has made in that 20-year time frame went on to fulfill his promise with another team, Tuukka Rask leading the Bruins to the Stanley Cup Final earlier this month. All of which demonstrates in some manner that for all the work and due diligence the draft is really just an informed roll of the dice. The process isnt perfect and never will be. Had Detroit known that Pavel Datsyuk would be a star would they really have passed on him seven different times – for the likes of Ryan Barnes, Tomek Valtonen, Jake McCracken and Brent Hobday – before finally selecting him with the 171st overall pick in 1998? The best that scouts can do is educate and inform the process as best as possible. "You just have to keep trying to get better at it," Morrison concluded, "because, again, its indicators; what did you see in a certain player at this time and now hes turned out, what made him a player? Everything that went into making that player you have to take with you into the next draft. You have to learn from the picks youve made and some of the picks that other teams have made, like why did that guy become the player that he became? You can never stop analyzing it because I think theres always things you can learn." Rankings have already begun for 2014. Morrison has about 75, maybe 80 prospects already listed to this point. Scouting never stops. And once that final selection for 2013 drops at the Prudential Center on Sunday evening, the year-long process will begin anew. ' ' '