McCutchen Has Star Written All Over Him

October 5, 2009 at 10:06 pm 1 comment

Andrew McCutchen
(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

The Pittsburgh Pirates avoided the dreaded 100 loss plateau this year partially thanks to a rained out game that will not be made up against the Chicago Cubs, leaving them with 99 losses on the season. At this point, who cares anymore? They have 17 consecutive losing seasons and there is nothing to chear about when you lose 99 games. The Pirates’ offense ranks last in the NL in runs (16th), 15th in SLUG, 14th in AVG, 14th in OBP, and 14th in OPS. Is there hope in the future? I think so, and hope’s name is Andrew McCutchen.

McCutchen, the 11th overall pick in the historic 2005 draft, looked like a potential star when I saw him in Spring Training. He hit .286/.365/.471 with an OPS+ of 124, a wOBA of .368, 12 homers, 26 doubles, 9 triples, 22 steals, and 54 walks, and he only grounded into 3 double plays in 433 at-bats in his 2009 rookie season at the tender age of 22.

On defense, McCutchen was gunning runners down in center too with 10 outfield assists and only 2 errors. His UZR/150 was -0.5 but he actually plays a stellar centerfield and should consistently post positive UZR/150 ratings.

Fangraphs has McCutchen’s 2009 production value at $15.8M while only making the league minimum and not qualifying for the batting title due to lack of plate appearances.

The bottom line is that McCutchen is going to be a star. His rookie season was even better than it appears. Among centerfielders with at least 475 plate appearances he ranks 2nd in wOBA behind Matt Kemp, 3rd in OPS behind Torii Hunter and Kemp, and 3rd in outfield assists.

In a full season, McCutchen will be what B.J. Upton should be, annually hitting 20+ homers, stealing 35+ bases, posting OPS’s over .850, playing above-average defense in center, and playing in All-Star games. This kid is a star in the making and Pittsburgh has the player to build a contender around and hope for the future.

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