Sutton Picking Up Steam in Utility Role

(Pat Pfister (Pfoto))

By Jason Stella / Louisville Bats | June 1, 2010 5:29 AM ET

COLUMBUS, Oh. - Since coming to the Cincinnati Reds organization by way of a trade early last season, Drew Sutton has played almost every position across the diamond. After primarily playing second base during his four years in the Houston Astros farm system, the 26-year-old Sutton has logged starts this season at five different positions, including spots in both the infield and outfield.

Although Sutton has been a defensive nomad, he has maintained a keen glove all season long. In 39 games, the six-foot-three, 200-pound Sutton has just one error to his record, despite having not started more than 14 games at any one position. This year, the former Baylor Bear has registered the most time at first base, while also getting six starts at third base, five at second, not to mention multiple appearances at both corner outfield spots.

Not only has Sutton's versatility made him a tremendous asset for the Bats defensively, but he has also started to heat up at the plate over the past month. After a rough April that saw his average stay below .200, the switch-hitting Sutton has gotten locked in since the calendar turned to May, hitting .379 for the month. Since Sutton's average reached a season-low on May 9th, the El Dorado, Arkansas native has done an about face at the dish, hitting at a .449 clip to raise his season average with Louisville to .288. For the year, Sutton has knocked in 18 runs while also ripping eight doubles, which ranks third on the team.

Sutton has especially been on fire for the Bats during his current eight-game hitting streak, posting a sizzling .517 average (15-29) to go with a pair of homers and 10 ribbys. Once Sutton's hitting streak hit seven, he earned a brief call-up to the Reds, taking the roster spot of Paul Janish, who had been placed on the bereavement list. During Sutton's three day stint in Cincinnati, he made an instant impact, blasting a grand slam on May 28th against his former team in a 15-6 drubbing of the Astros. Despite only getting action in two games, Sutton proved his worth, going 2-for-3 at the plate while playing second, third, and shortstop.

Cincinnati acquired Sutton in April of 2009 as the player to be named later in a deal that had previously sent IF Jeff Keppinger to the Astros. In 2008, he had led the double-A Texas League in hits (165) and doubles (39). After a bout with mono to begin his time with Louisville last year, Sutton got healthy enough to smack 14 doubles in 44 games with the Bats, posting a .261 average while mostly playing second base.

Sutton was also one of eight Reds to make their major-league debut in 2009, as he was called up for big league action for the first time on July 1st. In 42 games with Cincy, Sutton played four positions, including six appearances in the outfield, a position he had never played professionally before his major-league call-up. In 66 at-bats, Sutton hit just .212, but delivered some timely hits, including a ninth-inning, two-run double that snapped a five-all tie against the Cubs at Wrigley Field in September.

If Sutton can continue to put up productive offensive numbers, his versatility and defensive prowess will keep him near the top of the list of available prospects for the Reds, should they need another positional player. At worst, Sutton should continue to be a vital contributor for Louisville at various positions on the diamond. With his experience at so many positions, not to mention the fact he has hit in all nine spots of the Louisville batting order this year, Sutton is a valuable asset for his unique ability to be plugged in wherever there is a team need.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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