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Saturday, February 9, 2013

2013 FANTASY BASEBALL PLAYER ANALYZER: ANDREW MCCUTCHEN OUTFIELDER PITTSBURGH PIRATES

After a day spent out of the office due to getting 30 inches of snow, we are back to our normal routine which is serving as the best fantasy sports site in the business.  Today we delve into the outfielders and take a closer look at 2012 darling Andrew McCutchen of the Pittsburgh Pirates.  After coming up with the Pirates as a leadoff speedster with developing power, McCutchen put it all together last season at the age of 25 when he hit .327 with 31 home runs and 20 stolen bases.  That monstrous output has thrust McCutchen into first round territory in early 2013 drafts.  The questions is whether or not McCutchen is deserving of such stature?  So in our latest 2013 Fantasy Baseball Player Analyzer, we aim to answer that question and determine what we can in reality expect out of bat this season.

When looking at McCutchen's rise to stardom, it is easy to see the traditional development that took place from the very beginning.  McCutchen has increased his home rujn output from 16 to 23 to last season's 31 as he no doubt continued to grow into his body as he neared his hitting prime.  Also a movement down to the third spot in the order increased his RBI potential as well.  And again based on 2012's numbers, it would be tough to argue that McCutchen is not deserving of his first round status but in actuality we have some reasons to quibble which we will get to in a bit. 

In looking deeper into McCutchen's numbers and the potential for repeating them, there are a few red flags to talk about.  The first concerns the .327 batting average.  That mark was far and away the best average of McCutchen's young career as he has hit .259 and .286 the two years prior.  What is key to note is that McCutchen benefited from some generous luck with the batted ball to the tune of a .375 mark.  A .375 BABIP is sky high and it was one of the luckiest marks in all of baseball last season.  A typical BABIP is around .300 so one can see just how fortunate McCutchen got in that respect.  When that number normalizes as it is guaranteed to do in 2013, a drop to around .300 and maybe even lower is on tap. 

The second problem we have are the 31 home runs.  Yes McCutchen continues to grow into his body and no doubt getting close to his power prime has a lot to do with his increases there.  However his fly ball was a little out of whack based on where he was before 2012 so we can't guarantee 31 home runs will be there again.  W

Finally, McCutchen continues to show less and less interest in stealing bases and he really is not very good at it anyway as he has been caught in double-digit occasions each of the last two seasons.  He has now gone from 33 to 23 to last season's 20 as McCutchen seems more interested in being a power guy than a speed guy.  His move from the leadoff spot to the third slot in the order also doesn't help matters. 

Put it all together and there are some valid concerns regarding whether or not McCutchen can repeat his outstanding 2012 stat line.  We still would recommend picking Matt Kemp and maybe even Jose Bautista over McCutchen in drafts, with a tough call versus Carlos Gonzalez.  Automatically assuming McCutchen will repeat 2012's numbers is a recipe for disappointment and so be sure you keep in mind the big picture when it comes to his probable outlook.  A great player no doubt but one who could regress a bit also.

2013 PROJECTION:  .305 28 HR 90 RBI 105 R 22 SB


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