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October 1, 2013

Advance Scouting Series

Andrew McCutchen

by Jeff Moore

Advance Scouting Report

Filed by: Jeff Moore

Player Name: Andrew McCutchen

Context: Eight games; 9/15-9/22

PA

AB

H

1st P

K

BB/HBP

TB

Hard

AVE

OBP

SLG

OPS

TOTALS

32

23

4

7

3

6/3

8

7

.174

.406

.348

.754

Sample vs. Season:

BA well below season; OBP on par with season; SLG well below season

SCOUTING BREAKDOWN

Physical/Health:

Healthy; has been given plenty of days off throughout the season.

Hit Tool

· 70 hit tool. McCutchen has as much bat speed as you will see in the game and is perhaps the quickest in the game from the decision to swing to the contact point.

· A naturally aggressive hitter, McCutchen is becoming more patient at taking what pitchers give him as he emerges as a superstar. He has really found a good balance between wanting to do his damage as the team’s best hitter and being willing to take what the pitchers give him and get on base for his teammates.

· He has a strong pull approach on balls down in the zone, which leads to shifts to the left side by the infield. He’s not afraid to hit into the shift and try to line it through, which leads to lots of hard contact but some fluctuations in BABIP, as seen in our sample size (four hits on seven balls hit hard, .158 BABIP during this stretch).

· He has a slight uppercut swing that leads to more infield pop-ups than would be expected from a hitter of his caliber.

vs. LHP

vs. RHP

· Even when he’s fooled, LHPs don’t have much to miss his bat with. During this sample, McCutchen swung at 11 pitches from LHPs without missing.

· He recognizes off-speed pitches well and has quick-enough hands to still barrel up the ball even when he’s fooled.

· Will pepper the left side of the infield with ground balls/line drives, but goes the other way on balls to the outfield.

· Has quick-enough hands to turn on inside fastballs but looks for balls elevated out over the middle to drive to the RCF gap.

Notable At-bats

Date

Description

9/17, 2nd AB

vs. LHP Stults (SD) – Jumped on first-pitch changeup for double. Willing to be aggressive in right situation.

9/22, 1st 3 AB’s

Looked extremely uncomfortable against Bronson Arroyo, especially on big sweeping curveball. 1-for-26 career vs. Arroyo but just three strikeouts. Tons of weak contact lunging for curveballs.

Power

· 60 power

· McCutchen’s best power is to the opposite field. He has plenty of bat speed to generate pull power, but he tends to create too much topspin to really launch the ball out to left field. His power plays almost exclusively on pitches elevated in the zone, and when pitchers are on the outer half of the plate he creates the backspin necessary for carry to the RCF gap.

· Not being the biggest guy in the game (5’10”, 185 lbs.), McCutchen needs to get his pitch to demonstrate home run power. He’s strong, though, and can turn just about any pitch into a potential double.

· McCutchen’s speed plays into his power as well, in his ability to turn hard singles into the gaps into doubles, and doubles into triples.

vs. LHP

vs. RHP

· LHPs tend to stay away from McCutchen on the outer half, which enables his power to play much more often. Against LHPs he has 70 power and almost never misses his pitch when he gets it.

· Because RHPs are more willing to come inside on McCutchen, he doesn’t have as much power, specifically home run power, against them. Still, he has 50 power against RHPs, although it is more gap power than home run power.

Notable At-bats

Date

Description

9/18, 3rd AB

Was given a 3-0 green light and took advantage with an opposite field HR to right-center

Speed/Baserunning

· McCutchen has plus speed, and he gets to full speed quickly.

· He has great baserunning instincts and rarely hesitates on the bases. When he makes mistakes, it will be from being overaggressive, but more often than not, the additional pressure he puts on the defense pays off.

· Despite his plus speed, he’s only an above-average base stealer. He has stolen bases at only a 73-percent clip this season, although the threat to run and his reputation for speed leads pitchers to focus on him heavily when he’s on first base.

Conclusions and Means of Attack

Left-handed pitchers have a tough task against McCutchen, who isn’t fooled by anything but the best off-speed pitches. He looks for pitches out over the plate, so it is possible to sneak a fastball by him on the inside, but it would require a plus fastball and is a risky approach. The best way for LHPs to attack McCutchen is with soft stuff down and away; if the pitches are in the strike zone, he will still try to pull them through the left side. He barrels the ball up well even while trying to pull pitches on the outer half, but if they are down in the strike zone, the damage is typically limited to singles. Shifting three infielders to the left side can help combat the amount of balls that make it through the infield.

Right-handed pitchers can use more of the entire strike zone, but staying low and away is still the key. Because of his quick hands, he is susceptible to good off-speed pitches and good breaking pitches, especially on the outer half. He crushes fastballs, however, especially once he gets ahead in the count. Even when a pitcher falls behind, he still must attack with breaking pitches, despite the risk of walking him.

Regardless of handedness, the key to McCutchen is to stay low and away and make him pull pitches he doesn’t want to pull. As evidenced by Chart A below, McCutchen’s power comes when he gets his hands extended on pitches up in the zone. He does a better job than most of hitting those balls hard enough to get them through the infield, but at least that keeps the ball in the park.

Matchup Stats at a Glance

First-Pitch Swing

7/32 plate appearances

Bunt Threat (Sac, Push, Drag)

Did not show bunt of any kind

Defensive Positioning

Infield heavy shift to left side (2B up middle or even left of bag)

Outfield

Straight up to slight opposite field

Splits

vs. LHP

.400/.492/.670 for the season

vs. RHP

.302/.385/.476 for the season

Chart A

Full-Season Spray Chart

In-Sample Spray Chart

Jeff Moore is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Jeff's other articles. You can contact Jeff by clicking here

Related Content:  Andrew Mccutchen,  Pirates,  Advance Scouting

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