Pittsburgh Pirates: Five Favorable Baseball Savant Statcast Comparisons

2 of 7

Andrew McCutchen

Bringing back Andrew McCutchen was one of the biggest stories of this off-season, not just for the Pirates but for all of Major League Baseball. McCutchen's return represents his first game back in Black and Gold since 2017. Last year, Cutch had a mediocre season by his standards. He was roughly a league-average batter, slashing .237/.416/.384 with a .309 wOBA and a 98 wRC+.

But Baseball Savant paints McCutchen in a bright light for multiple reasons. None of his expected statistics fall below the league average. He also had an 89.1 MPH exit velocity and a 40% hard-hit rate. However, the most positive takeaway from McCutchen's Savant page is the player comparisons they make based on his batted ball data.

The best comparison they make is Francisco Lindor from this past season. Lindor batted .270/.339/.449 with a 127 wRC+ and 26 home runs. However, the rest of the comparisons Baseball Savant makes are players with a wRC+ of 120 or greater. That includes two players from 2018, Aaron Hicks (.248/.366/.467, 129 wRC+) and Francisco Cervelli (.259/.378/.431, 124 wRC+), Austin Nola from 2020 (.273/.353/.472, 127 wRC+), and Jed Lowrie in 2017 (.277/.360/.448, 120 wRC+).

Of course, that doesn't automatically mean that McCutchen will suddenly be an all-star caliber batter once again, but it does paint a positive light for the veteran outfielder. McCutchen excelled when there was no shift on him, and the new rules should limit how far the fielders can move on Cutch. He should be better next season, and it would be great to see him rediscover his 2017 form. Based on the batted ball numbers, he could definitely do it.