Pittsburgh Pirates: Corey Dickerson outperforming Andrew McCutchen

(Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /

The Pittsburgh Pirates made one of the most controversial trades this past offseason in dealing Andrew McCutchen.  However, they have been better off without him thus far.

When you think of the Pittsburgh Pirates best hitter over the last 10 years, the first and only player that should come to mind is Andrew McCutchen.  The 2013 National League MVP was no doubt the face of the Pittsburgh Pirates lineup and organization, along with being the best player on the team since Barry Bonds.  When the team decided to start floating him in trade talks over the last two seasons, many were unhappy.  The rumors started in the 2016-2017 offseason and carried on through the season. Although statistically speaking Cutch had a bounce back year, he still was average for about half the year.  Between the rumors in the previous year, the somewhat regressing performance, and him entering the last year of his contract, it was destined that Cutch would be dealt.

When the team dealt McCutchen much of the fan base and Pittsburgh media reacted in a negative way.  The team just traded their “best” player for two prospects.  While Andrew McCutchen was a solid players for the Bucs, he has definitely passed him prime.  His years from 2011-2015 are still what stick out to fans, as they should, but he is not the player he once was.  He has taken a step back at the plate and has taken even more steps back in the outfield.  Meanwhile, he will most likely be overpaid this upcoming offseason due to his name value and not his actual performance.

This trend has continued into this season.  McCutchen is off to slow start, just like the previous two seasons.  So far through 15 games he is batting just above the Mendoza Line with a .203 average.  He has two home runs, including a walk off.  The walk off, of course, is the main reference point to the idea that the Pittsburgh Pirates should not have traded him.  Meanwhile, he has a low OBP of .288 and is only slugging .339, all very low numbers.  While the expectation will be that he will eventually heat up, like he did last year after a slow start, the Bucs are better off without him.

If the Pittsburgh Pirates did not trade Andrew McCutchen, they very well may not be in the situation they are in right now.  The most immediate impact would be that the team would not have acquired Corey Dickerson.  Dickerson has arguably been the team’s best player. First off, he is out hitting McCutchen by a mile.  Dickerson’s slash line is .358/.386/.585.  He has 19 hits in 13 games with seven doubles, one triple, and one home run.  Also, he has added 12 RBIs while only striking out seven times.  He has made a lot of contact, even though he hardly draws walks.  He is a big reason for many of the team’s wins, including opening day against Detroit.


While Dickerson does not have the best arm in the world, Cutch’s weakest part of his game, by far, has always been his arm.  Dickerson threw Detroit’s runner out at the plate to send the game into extra innings.  If Cutch would have been shifted to left field, it is hard to say if he would have made the same play.  In fact, Dickerson has rated as one of the best left fielders defensively this season.  The left fielder has already posted seven defensive runs saved and has a UZR/150 of 57.5 (which is very unsustainable).  Everyone knows Andrew McCutchen’s defense has really suffered over the last few seasons.

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All in all, Corey Dickerson is a younger and cheaper option who is out performing Cutch big time this season.  In fact, if you even look at their stats from last season, they put up similar numbers. So at the worst, the Pittsburgh Pirates are getting a similar player production wise for two seasons and at half the price.  Still, there is even more reason to believe that Dickerson is a player trending upward while Cutch continues to age and regress.   He has already accumulated a 1.1 WAR while Cutch is sitting at -0.1.  There is no denying that the former Rays outfielder is having a major impact on the Pittsburgh Pirates.