Is anyone disagreeing that Andrew McCutchen is one of the most exciting young players in baseball? I know he may get lost in the shuffle a bit, thanks to playing for a perennial bottom feeder like the Pirates, but don’t let that distract you. The guy has the potential to be one of the elite hitters in the game.
I’ve already talked about McCutchen in detail (click here to view), where I said he could hit 20 HR in 2011. After hitting 16 in ’10, that isn’t anything too wild. Realistic, but that doesn’t fit into this column now does it?
If I want to make a wild prediction, I need to take it a step further (and not a small step):
Andrew McCutchen will go 30/30 in 2011
I don’t think anyone is going to argue that McCutchen is a near lock for 30 SB, no matter where he plays or where he hits in the lineup, so let’s turn our attention to the power. At 24-years old, McCutchen clearly is still growing and adding power to his frame.
Yes, McCutchen spent a lot of time in the Majors in 2009 (108 games), but 2010 was his first true full season. Let’s compare some of his numbers to a “mystery” player’s first full season:
McCutchen – 653 PA, 16 HR, 35 doubles, 5 triples, 18.8% LD%, 37.8% FB%, 8.7% HR/FB
“Mystery” – 700 PA, 17 HR, 46 doubles, 11 triples, 20.9% LD%, 35.3% FB%, 9.7% HR/FB
Obviously, the comparison is not perfect given McCutchen’s extensive time in the Majors the year before while our “Mystery” entrant had just 2 AB prior to his first full year. However, looking at their minor league numbers give us a little bit more of a comparison:
McCutchen – 1,967 AB, 43 HR; 1 HR every 45.7 AB; .423 SLG
“Mystery” – 1,536 AB, 27 HR; 1 HR every 56.9 AB; .430 SLG
You could argue that McCutchen showed more power at a younger age than our “Mystery” comparison, giving us hope that McCutchen could see a significant improvement in power in his second full year. Our “Mystery” player hit 29 HR in his second full season, beginning his ascent as one of the best players in baseball.
If you haven’t guessed by now, the “Mystery” is Hanley Ramirez, a player who brings a similar type of game to the table as McCutchen. Is McCutchen going to emerge as the same type of player Ramirez has, especially so quickly? Not likely, but I do see him following in his footsteps of adding power and shifting down to the third spot in the lineup.
Chance of Happening: 5%
Let’s be honest, while I think McCutchen will add more power in 2011, seeing him nearly doubling his home run total from 2010 is highly unlikely. Could he get there in the next two or three seasons? That, I would say, is not quite as wild as one may think.
What are your thoughts on this? Is there any chance of McCutchen reaching 30/30? What do you think his 2011 upside is?
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Make sure to check out our previous Wild Predictions:
- Jay Bruce & Colby Rasmus Will Combine For At Least 65 HR
- Jayson Werth will have less than 160 runs scored and RBI combined
- Ryan Zimmerman will outperform Evan Longoria in 2011
- James Shields will post a sub-3.40 ERA and sub-1.20 WHIP
- Austin Jackson will struggle so badly that by June 15 that he will have spent time at Triple-A
- Matt LaPorta will hit at least 30 HR in 2011
- Brett Anderson will be a Top 3 AL-Only fantasy pitcher in 2011
- Jose Tabata will score at least 100 runs
- Chris Perez will save less than 17 games in 2011
- Yovani Gallardo will post a WHIP of 1.20 or better