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Monday, January 15, 2018

2018 FANTASY BASEBALL TRADE FALLOUT: ANDREW McCUTCHEN LANDS IN SAN FRAN, STILL PRIME OUTFIELDER FOR FANTASY

The San Francisco Giants made it their mission to find any sort of hitting help this winter after enduring what was a pathetic offensive display by the team throughout the 2017 season.  While it took a bit longer than they anticipated, the Giants finally pulled off a big one by acquiring All-Star outfielder and former MVP Andrew McCutchen from the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday.  While the return package is unknown as of this writing since McCutchen has to first pass a physical for the deal to become official, the move is a perfect opportunity to dig back in on the former first-round fantasy baseball stud.

Now in terms of McCutchen and what he could provide to his fantasy baseball owners this season, a quick trip down memory lane is needed.  As mentioned earlier, McCutchen is a former MVP and he thrust himself in to the first round of most fantasy baseball drafts for a few years through some blockbuster five-tool numbers.  Combining 25-home power with a .300 average and 25 steals, McCutchen was the guy we all wanted to have to anchor our lineups.  Well McCutchen went through a rough period as he hit just .256 in 2016 and saw his speed almost vanish completely in swiping on 6 bags.  This was a watered-down version of McCutchen and it caused his draft stock to slip badly for 2017.  In looking back, that drop in ADP was a clear overreaction as McCutchen stormed back in 2017 to post the following numbers:

.279
28 HR
94 R
88 RBI
11 SB

In looking at those numbers, they were not far off his former MVP pace and the 28 homers stood out in particular as it was his most since the 31 he cracked in 2012.  Better yet, McCutchen ran a bit more with 11 steals and at the age of 31, he is still technically in his prime years (but on the later side of that).  So in looking ahead to 2018, McCutchen should be graded as a low-end OF 1 after his nice season the year prior.  He will go to a bit of a more pitching-leaning park in San Fran but 25 homers and 90 runs and RBI are very much in play.  Now McCutchen's days of hitting .300 and stealing even 15 bags are likely gone to history but .289 and 10 would be perfectly acceptable as he begins to age a bit.  The fact that McCutchen earned some wrath in 2016 has still caused his ADP to slip more than it should and so he should be targeted as a value play this spring.  Either way, McCutchen is safe to trust again.

2018 PROJECTION:  .280 26 HR 90 RBI 95 R 10 SB  


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