Tag: Andrew McCutchen

1st Place Pirates Now 24-12 Since May 25

| July 4, 2012 | 1 Comment

Pirates Zoltan Shirts (no affiliation with us, just a cool shirt)Last year, it was the Fort, Michael McKenry, with the play of the year for the 2011 Buccos.  This year, it was also McKenry with his hit off of Aroldis Chapman to beat the Reds earlier this year.

Until last night.

Drew Sutton last night was able to wrest the title of play of the year (so far, anyway) from McKenry for the 2012 title with his dramatic, completely unexpected but somehow not surprising, game winning walk off home run in the bottom of the 9th to beat the (hapless) Houston Astros.  That home run, Sutton first in the bigs since the 2010, put the Pirates into a 1st place tie with the Reds, who later last night lost to the Dodgers 3-1.

I’ll spare all of the talk about the PIrates being 8 games over .500 for the first time since the last day of the 1992 season, because to be honest, .500 no longer really matters.  Heck, finishing 82-80 and ending ’the streak’ this year seems like it would be a bit of a disappointment at this point in the season.

There just seems to be too much right for this team right now.  Things are clicking in a way that says that last year was last year, and this year is the first of many more in a good way.  They’ve got the Zoltan Z going on, like the Brewers’ beast mode claw from last year’s playoff run.  One of those things that when your opponent does it, you hate it.  But when it’s your team, it connects you with them in a way like no other.  Note: the image and subsequent link to the page where these shirts are sold are of no affiliation to me in any way whatsoever.  I just thought they were cool (though could be improved) and it would be great if a percentage of each sale went to Pirates Charities, but that’s not up to me… just saying).

Anyway, we have a potential National League MVP in Andrew McCutchen earning his way to an All Star game that he will be playing to win.  Because it *might* actually mean something to his team in October.

We have a closer who has blown two saves all year long, and an offense that picked him up by coming back to win both of those games.

We have guys who we acquired, traded the same day, and picked up off of waivers after he was cut by the team we traded him to coming in an hitting game winning walk off home runs.

We have a big time prospect pounding at the door in Indianapolis to come and join the party in Starling Marte, along with enough pitchers to solidly staff an 11 man rotation if we needed to.

We are 9 days away from the deadline to sign drafted players, and there is an incredible indifference regarding whether or not 1st round pick Mark Appel actually signs with the Pirates or not (He’d be insane not to sign, by the way. No more money coming his way, plus a chance to be part of a… yep, I’ll say it… dynasty in the years to come.  The only person who is hurt here is Scott Boras, since he’s already cost his client millions of dollars).

We have the best offense in baseball since June 1.  Incredible, considering the articles written here and everywhere else about how historically bad the offense was in April and May.

It’s a lot of fun right now, and it’s cool to be a Pirates fan.  I was wearing my Bucco gear every day in Milwaukee last week, and I was stopped over a dozen times by strangers wanting to talk Bucco baseball.   Not to mention, it is cool to go to Pirates games now.   Bandwagon fans or not, it’s a lot more fun to have those folks’ butts in seats.  Plus, the ticket sales justify everything we’ve been saying all along.  You win and they will come.  Well, the Pirates are winning, and the fans are showing up as well.

As Drew Sutton said after his incredible hit last night…  “every once in a while, you get a moment. You’d better enjoy it.”  I think truer words have never been spoken about anything in life.  And as baseball fans, the sport is all about life lessons as well, that we can teach our kids, and that we can learn from ourselves.  As those of us that thought that is might be “our year” every year since 1992, we all know disappointment and perseverance.

But this year, even if it turns out not to be “our year” when all is said and done, right now, we are all living in one of those moments that you get every once in a while.

You’d better enjoy it.


Bucco Breakdown – April 14, 2012

| April 14, 2012 | 1 Comment

Time to sacrifice a chicken?

Well, I really, really did not want to use a second consecutive image from the movie ‘Major League’ on this blog, but I think after the baseball that we’ve seen the past week, we may have to resort to sacrificing a live chicken to turn the hitting woes around.

“I ask Jobu to come, take fear from bats.”

That’s pretty much where we are right now.  Pirates pitching has been unbelievable.  They have given up 20 runs total in 7 games, less than 3 per game.  8 of those runs have come in the first inning, where we have not yet scored this year.   Take away our slow starts, and we’ve given up 12 runs in 54 non-first-innings this year.  That’s flat out amazing.

However, the Pirates have scored only 11 runs, total, in any inning, all season, in 7 games so far.   We’ll take a look into just how bad this team’s offense has been so far this year, with some interesting facts to put in perspective just how historically bad things have been so far in 2012.

Here is the Pirates Opening Day lineup, along with their batting averages now, through 7 games.

1. Alex Presley        .269
2. Jose Tabata        . 190
3. Andrew McCutchen       .360
4. Neil Walker       .048
5. Garret Jones     . 143
6. Rod Barajas      . 059
7. Pedro Alvarez    .063
8. Clint Barmes     . 105

- That is seven guys under .270,  SIX guys under .200, and THREE GUYS UNDER .065

- As a team, the Pirates are hitting .178.

- The Pirates have 39 hits in 7 games.     They also have struck out 58 times in 7 games.    The Pirates have drawn exactly 7 walks this season in seven games.  They are 5 walks behind the second to last place team (Phillies, with 12).

- The Pirates have 4 players with more than TWO hits total this season.   Andrew McCutchen (9),  Alex Presley (7), Casey McGehee (5) and Jose Tabata (4).   Yesterday, while the Pirates managed just one hit total in its game against San Francisco, there were 14 Major League players with more than 2 hits yesterday alone.

- The Pirates have 3 HR and 10 RBI as a team so far this season.  That is fewer home runs than Corey Hart, Ian Kinsler or Josh Willingham, and fewer RBI than David Freese, Matt Kemp, or Andre Ethier.   There are 11 other individual players with as many home runs as the Pirates have hit this season.

- The Pirates rank last in Major League Baseball in Runs Scored, Hits, RBI, Walks, Average, On Base %, Slugging % and of course OPS.  They are also last in Total Bases, Extra Base Hits, and Number of Pitches Faced.  They are second to last in doubles (7 to 6 over Cleveland), triples (with 1), and home runs (3-2 over Boston).

- If the next person that hits a home run for the Pirates is not named Clint Barmes, Pedro Alvarez, or Michael McKenry, they will be tied for the team lead in home runs with one.

- If Chicago Cubs’ 3B Ian Stewart were traded to the Pirates right this minute, and the only statistics he was allowed to bring with him were from his first at bat yesterday, he would immediately be tied for the Pirates team lead in homers with 1, and would be alone at the top of the RBI leaderboard with 3.

- Pedro Alvarez has struck out in 10 of 16 plate appearances this year.  Ironically enough, the two times he has reached base were by a ball hit over the fence for a home run, and on a dropped third strike when the first baseman dropped the ensuing throw to first.  He would come around to score after that happened, and is why he leads the team with 2 runs scored this year (tied with Andrew McCutchen and Michael McKenry).

- Not surprisingly, the Pirates have not had an intentional walk issued to them yet this year.

- Only five players have been issued a walk at all this year.   Three of them are not starters (Navarro, McKenry, and McLouth).   Only three walks have been issued to starters, two to Andrew McCutchen and one to Neil Walker.

- Pitchers Kevin Correia and James McDonald each have as many hits (1) as opening day starters Neil Walker, Rod Barajas, and Pedro Alvarez, as well as other key contributors who have started this season - Matt Hague, Josh Harrison, and Nate McLouth.

- Teams are likely to stop pitching to Andrew McCutchen until the rest of the team comes around.  The Pirates are hitting .178 as a team WITH him.  If you take out Cutch, the team batting average drops to .155.

- If you also take out Alex Presley, the team batting average drops to .137 for everyone else.

Hopefully, this trend comes to a screeching halt tonight, and it is something we look back on and laugh about.  But the start that we’ve seen from this offense so far this year has been, well…  offensive.

Yo bartender, Jobu needs a refill.



Cutch Signs Long Term Deal

| March 5, 2012 | 1 Comment

News worth staying up late for on a Sunday night, Pirates All Star centerfielder Andrew McCutchen just signed a 6 year, $51.5 million deal to remain with the Pirates at least through the 2017 season, plus a club option for the 2018 season at a realistic $14.75 million.

The importance of this signing cannot be understated, as getting this done sends a message to fans and other players around the league that this Pirates are finally committed to putting a winning product on the field.  Now with two thirds of it’s outfield settled for the next 6 to 8 years, after Jose Tabata signed the 6 year deal with 3 club options last season, the Pirates can turn to other areas of focus for development.

All those people who joke around and ask how much longer until Cutch is a Yankee are going to have to come up with some new material.

Cutch will be in Black and Gold for a long time.  And that, fellow Bucco fans, is great news tonight.

Let’s Go Bucs!


2012 Pittsburgh Pirates – Something to Prove

| February 7, 2012 | 0 Comments

As I spent a little time earlier today thinking about the Pirates upcoming season, I couldn’t help but stop on virtuall every single player and think “wow, he’s got something to prove this year”.   That kind of thing often is present when teams put it all together for a surprising run at success.  Or it can be present when a team has a massive disappointment.  Only time will tell what is in store for the 2012 Pittsburgh Pirates, but we decided to take a look at each member of the Pirates and break down exactly what they have to prove in 2012, and how that will impact the team’s success this coming season.


3.  Neil Walker    Walker has the city in the palm of his hand.  Being the local kid, loving his hometown and saying and doing everything right, he is hands down the leader of this team and a forever fan favorite.  He’s also the guy most likely to be in a Pirates uniform for a very long time as there is no way the front office could ever afford to trade him or let him go.   So if you play on buying a Pirates jersey anytime soon, you can’t go wrong with Walker (or Tabata, thanks to him long term deal).

But on the field, we still don’t really know if he is the guy who hit .360 during the awesome July in Pittsburgh last year, or the guy who hit .227 and .213 in May and June, respectively. Walker probably gets a bit of a free pass when it comes to performance, as he plays hard and wants to win, and the fans love him.  But what they would really love is a career year for the switch hitting 2B.  His .297 average in .2010 was great, but his home run totals stayed at 12 for a second consecutive season this year while his batting average and OPS dipped from .811 to .742.

For the Pirates to take a next step, it would be great to see Walker get to that 15-20 HR area with an average closer to 2010 than 2011, and his clutch hitting / RBI totals to stay at where they were last year when he drove in 83 runs.   Walker has a chance to be a big time second baseball and All Star, but he really needs to show this year if he is going to be a good baseball player or a very good / great baseball player.


2. Pedro Alvarez   To say that expectations and pressure are through the roof on Pedro this year would be an understatement.  He has been considered the future of the franchise ever since he was drafted and signed a rookie contract, and then changed and re-signed his rookie contract.  Pedro has plenty of room to improve, as his decent 2010 rookie season was followed up by an absolutely horrendous 2011.  A .256 average and 16 home runs in 2010 set expectations of 30 HR season after season and being the #4 hitter in a Pirates lineup for years to come.   But the disappointment of an embarassing .191 average and 4 HR’s has fans and management wondering if he even has a future in big league baseball.

The Pirates absolutely need Pedro to be the player that they hoped for if they are going to have any chance at contending in the future.   But when you digress like Pedro did in 2011, you have to wonder what the issue is.  No player needs to start off with a good spring training more than Pedro Alvarez, and then keep it going into April.  If Alvarez can figure things out and put together a season equal or better than his rookie year, then the Pirates will challenge the .500 mark and perhaps contend in a down NL Central this year.   But if he gets off to a slow start, he’ll likely be getting his at bats in Indianapolis while the Pirates bide time to determine if he has a future at all in this organization.  Bill James projects Pedro to bounce back with a .252 average and 19 home runs, which would be a welcome season, although not nearly what was expected of him even last season.  If he can surpass those projections, then this Pirates team is not very far from contending.  No pressure, Pedro.


1. And the number one player with something to prove in 2012…   Andrew McCutchen    Cutch is hands down the Pirates player most likely to become a big time star in Major League Baseball.   McCutchen will be 25 years old this entire season, turning 26 in October, and is in his last season before becoming eligible for arbitration.   That means that he is just starting to enter the prime of his career at a time that could be financially lucrative to him.   But he’s never hit .290 and is coming off a .259 season with an OPS of .820.  He had good numbers in 2011, with 23 HR and 23 SB, but he didn’t have superstar numbers.  He was 5.5 WAR (Wins Above Replacement) so he definitely had a great year.  And to put that in perspective, NL MVP Ryan Braun was a 7.7 WAR in 2011.  So McCutchen had a terrific year.  But what is his ceiling?  And more importantly, what is reasonable for 2012?

It is no secret that how Cutch goes, so go the Pirates in 2012.  His defense is going to be there. He gets to everything and defensively, he saves the pitching staff runs just by patrolling centerfield. He led the National League in a stat called Range Factor / game, so his defensive value is proven and established.  Assuming he stays healthy,  is there any reason to doubt that Cutch could get his average up around the .286 he was at in 2009 or 2010? I personally think he could get that average up to .290 and be a 30/30 guy as a reasonable, yet very successful season.  Bill James projects Cutch to hit .277 with 19 HRs, 27 SB’s and 74 RBI.  Not a bad season, but none of which would be career highs.

If he’s going to be the highest paid player on the team in 2013 (and he likely will be after signing either an extension or getting a deal through arbitation), then he needs to take that next step toward becoming a big time outfielder.  Not that there is anything wrong with consistently being the type of player he was last year, but I don’t think that is good enough for him.  And for that reason, Andrew McCutchen is the #1 player on the 2012 Pirates with something to prove.