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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The Curious Case of Cutch: Andrew McCutchen on his lost 2016, and why 2017 will be better

Only two players that debuted on the day a pitcher won their 300th game went on to post at least 10 bWAR: McCutchen and Randy Myers. Here’s hoping McCutchen can rediscover his stroke.

Regarding the worst, most mystifying season of his career, Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen made a startling admission to me: He lost his nerve to run.

Slumps are the viral illnesses of a hitter. They strike without warning or known cause and run their course, be they days, weeks or, in McCutchen’s case last year, five months. They happen. But perhaps most alarming about McCutchen’s 2016 season was the poor body language from one of baseball’s best and most exciting base runners.

McCutchen didn’t try to steal bases very often, and when he did, he was thrown out more times (seven) than he was successful (six). Just three years earlier, in his MVP-winning season of 2013, McCutchen had advanced from first base to third base on nearly half the singles his teammates hit. He did so only 17% of the time last year—just five times all season. He went first-to-third less than slow-footed Albert Pujols and 173 other players.

ajnrules Posted: March 14, 2017 at 02:24 PM | 4 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: andrew mccutchen, pittsburgh pirates, spring training, tom verducci

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   1. AT-AT at bat@AT&T Posted: March 14, 2017 at 08:53 PM (#5417447)
Cutch needs a hot girlfriend , is all !
   2. PASTE does not get put on waivers in August Posted: March 14, 2017 at 09:00 PM (#5417452)
Another theory would be that he was significantly injured most of the season. Witness also his defense, which absolutely cratered from mediocrity to being outright awful in center field. I doubt a loss of nerve had anything to do with that.

McCutchen is a superstar whose performance in every aspect of the game plummeted when he's still in his prime. The likeliest explanation, by far, isn't that he suddenly forgot how to play baseball, nor that he struggled all year with self confidence. It's that he was playing through an injury he shouldn't have been.

I'm buying McCutchen stock for 2017.
   3. PreservedFish Posted: March 14, 2017 at 09:27 PM (#5417472)
Verducci was trying to pull a headline out of this, but judging just from McCutchen's quotes there's no real explanation here. Sounds like he probably was injured, but he absolutely refuses to blame anything on injuries, so it's not possible to determine the extent of it. Mostly he was just bad and nobody's sure why and he's talking himself in circles around that fact.

It does remind me of the year that Carlos Beltran had when he was 28 - Beltran had a thigh injury or something that didn't keep him out of games but it slowed him down everywhere. The next year he was an MVP quality player again.
   4. zonk Posted: March 14, 2017 at 09:41 PM (#5417483)
His August and September seemed like the Cutch of old -- the power wasn't there in August, but the walks returned, the Ks got way back down, and it looks like the BABIP returned to normal... then the power came back in September.

Injured or perhaps just losing a smidge on his swing and taking a few months to iron it or whatever -- I'm glad he seemed back in ~2nd half.

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