Thursday, June 16, 2016


If one were to put together a list of the biggest 2016 fantasy baseball first and second round draft busts, a spot near the top would have to reserved for Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen.  Having one average been the third outfielder off the board behind Mike Trout and Bryce Harper, McCutchen was looked upon as a very safe mid-first round pick due to his MVP play (earning officially one of the awards) over the last four years.  Unfortunately McCutchen has been a clear shell of that player and in fact has performed like a waiver wire outfielder as he went into Thursday's action with the following numbers:

9 HR
37 R
25 RBI
1 SB

Looking at the numbers, outside of decent power, McCutchen has been a disaster.  Making matters worse, the typical slow starts we annually see out of McCutchen were pretty much just an April thing and when May arrived, he took off back to his MVP form.  That has not happened in 2016 and we are now more than halfway through June which makes this even more concerning. 

Now as always let's dig in a bit more on the numbers shall we?  What also stands out here is the major drop in steals for McCutchen who has only 1 to this point which means he pretty much has been a zero there.  Part of the reason McCutchen's draft price soared so much the last few seasons and made him a first round pick was due to the fact he had five tool ability which is incredibly rare in today's fantasy baseball.  Having stolen as many as 33 bases in a season, McCutchen was seen as a decent asset there.  Right now though you have to think McCutchen is following in the Mike Trout or Jason Kipnis path in terms of losing his speed in his upper-20's.  That seems very young for that happen but in thuis post-steroids era, early slippage in steals is becoming more and more common.  Want more evidence here?  Try the fact that over the last three-plus seasons, McCutchen's steals have read:  27, 18, 11, and now 1.  That is a clear trend folks and at the age of 29, you have to think McCutchen's days as a help in the steals category are done. 

Looking at the rest of the numbers, the average also stands out as an issue for a guy who has batted over .300 each season from 2012-2014 and then hit .292 a year ago.  There are some problems here though such as a skyrocketing K rate that now sits at 24.9 percent.  Consider that the previous high for McCutchen there was the 19.6 he had in 2012.  Whether his bat is already slowing down a bit, bad mechanics, or he is hiding an injury, McCutchen has hurt his owners badly there.  However the one bright spot is the fact McCutchen's BABIP has historically been in the mid-.300 range and that means he is actually getting some bad luck based on his career trends.  Of course having a BABIP in the mid-.300 range means speed is at play here and with McCutchen losing his explosiveness this season, he may not see as much of an average turn as one might think.

Finally, it is possible McCutchen is not feeling right and he has battled some injuries the last few seasons.  That also can be chalked up to the fact McCutchen is getting older but no matter how you slice it, he has been plain rotten this season.  A buy low is not a bad idea considering the track record but you have to also realize that the entire body of work has changed here since McCutchen now longer helps in steals and is looking at a drop in average.  Either way, there has been a very large amount of disappointment for his owners this season. 

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