Phillies outfielder Andrew McCutchen becoming All-Star candidate
Despite entering this year at 32 years old, Phillies outfielder Andrew McCutchen has the chance to become an All-Star for the first time since 2015.
Little has been made about Andrew McCutchen‘s first season with the Phillies. He was the first of several offseason acquisitions and his signing blended with Bryce Harper‘s and David Robertson‘s, as well as the trade for J.T. Realmuto. Despite being overshadowed, McCutchen has made as significant, if not the most significant impact of all the offseason acquisitions.
If you only looked at McCutchen’s batting average of .261, you wouldn’t think much of his season. However, as you look further, you start to see just how valuable of an addition he has been.
McCutchen leads the National League with 42 walks and ranks second among qualified hitters with a 16.6% walk rate. He also ranks third in runs scored (45), sixth in times on base (97), 15th in on-base percentage (.383), and 23rd in wRC+ (128).
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McCutchen has exclusively batted out of the leadoff spot this year, and he has thrived. Among NL leadoff hitters with 75 or more plate appearances, he ranks first in runs scored, tied for second in home runs, and third in on-base percentage, OPS, and wRC+. His ability to get on base gives Jean Segura, Rhys Hoskins, and Bryce Harper plenty of opportunities to drive in runs.
Perhaps even more surprisingly, McCutchen is making a positive impact defensively as well. He has five defensive runs saved and a 1.2 ultimate zone rating, which ranks first and second, respectively, among qualified NL left fielders. Compared to Hoskins’s defense in left field last season, McCutchen has been a godsend.
McCutchen ranks 20th in Baseball-Reference wins above replacement with 1.8. He also ranks 24th in Fangraphs wins above replacement and eighth among outfielders with 1.7. As it just so happens, 24 position players, including nine outfielders, will be nominated for the All-Star Game this year, not including any injury replacements. This will put McCutchen in line for McCutchen’s first All-Star appearance since 2015 if things continue.
It’s been quite some time since McCutchen was an All-Star caliber player. Now, he is on pace to have his best season at 32 years old since 2015, when he was an All-Star and finished fifth in MVP voting. A contract viewed as an overpay during the offseason may turn out to be quite worthwhile.