Andrew McCutchen Is Not Having A Down Year


Jul 4, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen (22) takes the field against the Philadelphia Phillies during the first inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

There’s been a lot of talk this year about whether or not Andrew McCutchen could repeat the type of season he had last year, and a lot of folks have said that McCutchen has been having somewhat of a “down year” or “a down year by his standards” and I thought they were right –  until I looked at McCutchen’s “standards” over his career, and took a further look at this year’s numbers, and found some interesting stuff:

This year, Andrew McCutchen is batting .303/.375/.471, with nine home runs and forty-six RBI. His WAR is 4.5, which ties him for third among all N.L. position players, and tied for fifth in all of MLB in WAR (the tie is with Paul Goldschmidt).  He’s ahead of guys like Chris Davis, Carlos Gonzalez, Mike Trout, and last year’s N.L. MVP, Buster Posey.

Clearly, Andrew McCutchen stacks up well against the rest of the league as a franchise player, but does he stack up against his own performance thus far in his career? Because I’m inept at using sortable statistics, I did some math on McCutchen’s career numbers compared to this year. His career batting average outside of 2013 is .290, compared to the current .303 average he’s sporting. Cutch comes out +13 points on the batting average comparison.

Over the years of 2009-2012, he averaged seventy-three RBI per season. This year he has forty-six through eighty-seven games, which puts him on pace to come in right around ninety RBI, give or take.  Mark Cutch down for +15-17 RBI compared to the rest of his career average. His home runs are down compared to his career average, where he has previously averaged 26 AB/HR over previous years, he’s currently at 35.8 AB/HR. I love home runs, but does it really matter how he knocks in the runs? RBI are RBI, so whether they come from a suicide squeeze or a 450 foot bomb, they still count on the scoreboard. Bottom line is despite less HR, he’s still outpacing the rest of his career average for RBI.

His average number of stolen bases per year? 24.5, compare that to the 18  he has a little over halfway through 2013, and he comes out ahead once again. All this math, career averages, and talk about WAR to say this: Andrew McCutchen is not having a down year. Josh Hamilton is having a down year. BJ Upton is having a down year. Andrew McCutchen is producing at the plate, on the base paths, and is worthy of another gold glove for his work in center field and serious consideration for N.L. MVP to this point in the season. Now, everyone go find something else to complain about, like Pedro Alvarez not being in the home run derby.