Friday morning news broke that all-time Pittsburgh Pirates great Andrew McCutchen has re-signed with the team. The question now becomes what role will he play with the team in 2023?
In a move that will make many fans of the Pittsburgh Pirates happy, the team re-signed outfielder Andrew McCutchen on Friday. For anyone who is a fan of the Pirates, it goes without saying that Cutch is one of the best players in franchise history.
Now that Cutch has returned to the Pirates the question becomes what role will he play with the team in 2023? Well, he could help answer a major question mark with the team. With his ability to get on base, Cutch could be a strong option to bat leadoff in 2023.
The Pirates are in major need of a leadoff hitter in 2023. Cutch could be the batter who answers this need for the Bucs. Last season with Milwaukee Brewers he drew walks at a strong 9.8% rate. This marked the 14th time in as many MLB seasons that he drew walks at least a 9% rate.
When hitting at the top of a baseball lineup nothing is more important than getting on base. This is something that Cutch continues to do well. Dating back to the 2019 season he owns a .33 on-base percentage and a borderline elite walk rate of 12.3%.
There may be an argument to platoon Cutch in 2023. This is due to him struggling against right-handed pitching while continuing to mash against left-handed pitching in recent seasons. However, it's very possible, if not likely, he sees an every day role in the Pirate outfield alongside Bryan Reynolds and a Jack Suwinski/Connor Joe platoon.
If Cutch can continue to get on base at the rate he has in recent seasons he could be a very good lead off hitter for the Pittsburgh Pirates. This would answer a huge question for the Pirates, while also helping the team to entice fans more in 2023.