Should You Buy Low on Andrew McCutchen?

May 16, 2011


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Andrew McCutchen is batting .235 this year, which hides the fact that he’s having a solid all-around year. McCutchen has scored 20 runs and knocked in 20 more. He’s not putting up elite power or speed numbers, but his seven home runs and five stolen bases are solid. He’s on pace for 81 runs, 28 HRs, 81 RBI, and 20 stolen bases.
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After a .286-94-16- 56-33 season and a .286-74-12-54-22 debut most were expecting greater things from Andrew.
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There are some encouraging signs though. After a dreadful April that yielded a meager .219 batting average, McCutchen is batting .264 in the first half of May. He’s too good of a hitter to continue to produce such a low average, especially given his speed.
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Speaking of his speed, it’s a mystery how his BABIP can be just .250. Aside from a “down year” of .296 in 2007 for Double-A Altoona, he has always been .311 or greater. If his luck can improve  even twenty points, that would make his batting average at least palatable.
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McCutchen is hitting just .219 against left-handed pitching. He hit .324 against lefties last year and .310 as a rookie. Clearly there is room for improvement there as well, which would also help his average climb. After his slow start, I’m not sure he can reach the .286 mark he set in his first two years, but he should make a run at it.
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McCutchen owners won’t necessarily be thrilled to deal away their early draft pick, but they will be more apt to do so than if he started off the year raking. His suspension for not running out a ball last week could also play a role if his owner is nervous that it might happen again.
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Don’t give away the farm for him, but if you really want McCutchen on your team, now may be the best time to get him.
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