by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
It wasn’t a complete surprise that Andrew McCutchen landed in Philadelphia, what likely caught people off-guard was that he landed a deal worth 3 years and $50 million. For a player of his age and clearly not the elite player he once was, it’s a large sum of money. That’s not to say that McCutchen doesn’t still have value, especially moving to a hitter friendly environment.
The power is going to be the key, since we can’t bank on him suddenly rediscovering some speed (though he could continue to swipe 10+ bases for now). Just look at the split that McCutchen has shown in regards to his home runs over the past few seasons:
That gives hope that he could push his power back up, as he’s added 30 doubles each of the past two seasons. Maybe he doesn’t return to the 30+ HR plateau, but it wouldn’t be surprising if he didn’t reach the 25-28 type range.
Now the question is if that’s enough? With the speed in decline at 32-years old, can he post a strong average? Over the past three seasons he’s had two seasons of .256 or worse (including .255 last season), so that would give you cause for concern. That said there are some promising signs in the underlying metrics, especially with a surge in his power:
- Hard% – 43.4%
- SwStr% – 8.2%
- O-Swing% – 19.4%
A good approach and an ability to hit the ball hard would indicate more upside in his .304 BABIP from a year ago… Of course that would ignore how prone he will be to the shift. Last season he owned a 19.7% Oppo%, which is right in line with his 21.6% career mark. That’s going to continue to suppress his BABIP into the same range he owned last season, meaning the only true bump is going to be from his potential to hit a few more home runs.
McCutchen should be hitting in the middle of a better lineup than he’s played in recent seasons (outside of his time in New York last season). That’s going to mean potential in both R/RBI, further helping his cause. You put that all together and you get a player who likely produces in the .265/27 type range. That’s not an OF1, but would it be surprising if he’s a high-level OF3?
McCutchen will be worth an investment, just make sure you don’t get distracted by the name/contract and bloat his draft day cost.
Source – Fangraphs
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