Andrew McCutchen has had a world class 2012 season. Just look at the numbers and try to dispute that:
375 At Bats
.373 Batting Average (140 Hits)
22 Home Runs
14 Stolen Bases
.432 On Base Percentage
.632 Slugging Percentage
.423 Batting Average on Balls in Play
However, while most expected him to become a superstar you have to wonder if he is this good. Diving into the numbers we find that chances are a regression will likely come at some point.
The big thing s his average, currently sitting at .373. No one is going to say he is a .250ish hitter (like he was in 2011), but this is a little bit extreme as well. Yes, he has posted a solid 23.9% line drive rate, but that does not justify his current .423 BABIP.
Obviously, a drop there would lead to a fall in average. With his strikeout numbers consistent with what he posted a year ago (18.6% vs. 18.5%), it is hard to figure that he can maintain his current pace.
That’s not to say that he is not a .300 hitter, because I believe he is, but it seems virtually impossible that he maintains this type of mark. In fact, over the previous five years not one player who qualified for the batting title finished the year with a BABIP of over .400 and only five have been above .390:
- Austin Jackson (2010) – .396
- David Wright (2009) – .394
- B.J. Upton (2007) – .393
- Chone Figgins (2007) – .391
- Josh Hamilton (2010) – .390
In other words, we have to expect a drop in his luck over the final two months of the year.
We also have to wonder of he can maintain his current power, as he currently has a HR/ FB of 22.7% (up from 12.2% in 2011). An increase was expected, though this clearly came all at once (especially considering he finished April without a home run).
However, his fly ball rate is down this season and, an increase there would help to offset any regression in his other metric. That said, do we really want him hitting more fly balls? That generally leads to a lower BABIP and a further drop in average.
So what’s the bottom line? McCutchen is an all world talent and one that any fantasy owner would love to have. He is a potential .300/30/30 threat, something that few can accomplish. However, he has played over his head thus far and it wouldn’t be shocking to see hs numbers fall a little bit in the second half.
Am I really recommending trading him? If you can get a bounty for him in a yearly format, then yes I would. Otherwise, enjoy te breakout performance of one of the games superstars.