At just 28 years old, Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen likely has at least a decade left in his big league career. With that in mind, he already has four All-Star selections, a National League MVP Award, three Silver Sluggers and a Gold Glove Award under his belt.
Not bad for a guy who has just six years of big league experience to his name at this point. Last season, he finished third in the NL Most Valuable Player voting – batting .314/.410/.542 in 146 games – his lowest total since his rookie campaign back in 2009. To go along with an impressive eye at the dish, Cutch hit 25 home runs and added 38 doubles – once again acting as the team’s offensive catalyst.
Since breaking onto the scene in the Steel City six years ago, McCutchen has emerged as not only one of the best outfielders in baseball – but as one of the league’s best overall players, as well. He has demonstrated consistency that is near-unrivaled, while leading Pittsburgh to back-to-back postseason appearances in 2013 and 2014.
Since earning his first All-Star selection back in 2011, McCutchen has seen his on-base percentage increase from .364 all the way to .410 last season – a league-leading mark. It’s worth noting that the outfielder has some high-flying company in regards to his numbers to this point.
Before delving into that, one question must be asked: is the Pirates outfielder on a path to Cooperstown?
According to Baseball Reference, through age 27, McCutchen has a bevy of quality outfielders with similar career numbers including Billy Williams, Andre Dawson and Dave Winfield. When put like that, it’s encouraging to think about the future for the Pirates organization and for the face of the franchise himself.
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So, to-date, the future for McCutchen has two very distinct paths: one that ends with a plaque on the wall of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and another very different outcome that ends with groups of old men drowning their sorrows in a local pub talking of “what might have been.”
Through roughly one-third of his career (give-or-take), Cutch measures at a 38 on Baseball Reference’s Hall of Fame Monitor, which attempts to calculate the likelihood a player reaches the Hall someday.
Heading into his age 28 season with 128 home runs, a career .299/.385/.498 slash-line and several accolades already in the mix – it would be easy to make a case for his entrance into the Hall.
If he can keep up his performance to this point into his mid-30s, with a few dominant years in the mix, he could approach the 100 mark that equates to a probable trip to Cooperstown. However, at this point, there’s no telling what’s in the cards for our beloved center fielder.