3 hot takes about the Pittsburgh Pirates

I want to share three of my hot takes about the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Chicago Cubs v Pittsburgh Pirates
Chicago Cubs v Pittsburgh Pirates / Joe Sargent/GettyImages
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Andrew McCutchen is a Hall of Famer

This one is probably my least hot take. But I still see too many people saying that Andrew McCutchen isn't a Hall of Fame player. I strongly disagree with that notion. I think that McCutchen is going to make the Hall of Fame with ease, and if he stays productive for a few more years, he's only going to support this case.

McCutchen is a career .276/.369/.469 batter with a 128 OPS+. McCutchen has already won multiple awards and has reached multiple different milestones in his career. He has gone to five All-Star Games, has an MVP, four Silver Sluggers, a Gold Glove, 2000+ hits, 200+ stolen bases, and is well within reach of a handful of other statistical milestones, which I went more in-depth with here.

McCutchen is only 1.4 fWAR away from +50 and one home run away from 300. Once he reaches those two milestones, he'll be in some pretty elite company. There have only been two 19 players who played 51%+ of their career games in center field with 2000+ hits and reaching +50 bWAR. A dozen of them are in the Hall of Fame; another is Kenny Lofton, who should be in Cooperstown.

There have also been very few center fielders that have displayed the speed/power McCutchen has in his career. Once he hits his 300th home run, he'll join a club that only has three members: primary center fielders 50+ bWAR, 300+ home runs, and 200+ stolen bases. The only other players to achieve this are Willie Mays, Mike Trout, and Carlos Beltran. But if he keeps his OPS+ above 120, he, Mays, and Trout will be the only ones to have the previous milestones and a 120+ OPS+. He'll also become one of seven other primary CFs with 400+ doubles and 300+ home runs. 

Another milestone Cutch will add to his resume this year is his 3500th total base. Once he reaches that, he'll join another exclusive group of center fielders with that many total bases. Right now, only 18 have done it, and half are in the Hall of Fame.

Some other noteworthy career achievements include finishing fourth in Rookie of the Year voting in 2009, finishing in the top five in MVP voting for four straight seasons from 2012 through 2015, winning the Roberto Clemente award in 2015, and representing Team USA in the 2017 Baseball World Classic, which they won that year. Cutch led the league in hits during '12, OBP, OPS, and OPS+ in 2014 and had the 8th most bWAR among any position player in the 2010s at +42.3.

The YouTube channel Stark Raving Sports recently made a video talking about Cutch's Hall of Fame candidacy, and they made a really good point that I love to make every time this conversation arises: everyone uses the character clause to keep players out of the Hall, but never to put a player in the Hall. No one deserves a boost in their Hall candidacy because of their personality, loyalty, leadership ability, and off-field charity work than Andrew McCutchen. He's the closest thing to Mr. Rogers baseball has.

At this point, I think the only question to ask is when McCutchen will get into Cooperstown, as opposed to if he'll reach Cooperstown. He's had an extremely successful career, and he's not done yet. Once he reaches some of the milestones that are very much in reach of him, he'll punch his ticket to a Hall of Fame plaque.

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