Pittsburgh Pirates: Three Promising Small Sample Size Statistics From The First Week Of The Season
By Noah Wright
17% Whiff Rate
Who's to say old dogs can't learn new tricks? The Pirates brought in Andrew McCutchen as a veteran anchor to the outfield and designated hitter spot. So far, he's delivered on that, collecting nine hits in 33 plate appearances. He's drawn seven walks and struck out four times because he is swinging and missing less than ever before.
McCutchen is currently sitting pretty with a 17% whiff rate, putting him in the top 85th percentile of batters. His current single-season best whiff rate is 21.1%, which is 4.1% worse than his current whiff rate. His career average is 24.1%, and the MLB average is 24.7%. He's doing this in his age-36 season.
Here are some other impressive statistics from McCutchen's small sample size. He has a 16.4% chase rate, which is the third-best of his career so far. He has made contact on pitches swung at inside the strike zone 94.7% of the time, another career best. He's only swung outside the strike zone 16.9% of the time, which ranks among the top 15 hitters in the league.
The power has yet to come around, as only three of his hits has gone for extra bases. However, with a career-high launch angle and above-average exit velocity, the power should eventually come around for Cutch. In his defense, he's yet to have a really good chance to get a ton of extra base hits. Down and away outside the strike zone has been the most often spot opposing pitchers have gone to when facing Cutch (4.4%), and he isn't falling for it.