Phillies 2019 season review: Injury ends promising campaign for Andrew McCutchen
The Phillies downfall can be linked to many things, but Andrew McCutchen’s injury was perhaps the biggest of them all.
While Bryce Harper was undoubtedly the prize signing last offseason, the addition of Andrew McCutchen gave the Phillies a solid leadoff man and a reliable veteran manning left field. The days of being an MVP-caliber player are in McCutchen’s past, but a 25 home run season playing at Citizen’s Bank Park and stability at the top of the order was not out of the question for the 11-year veteran.
McCutchen started his 2019 campaign with a bang, launching a home run in his first at-bat. He helped the Phillies take down the Braves by a 10-4 score in the opener and homered again two games later. McCutchen finished April with five home runs, drew 23 walks for an on-base percentage of .374 and an OPS of .828.
Doing everything that was asked for a leadoff man, McCutchen continued his production in May, belting five more home runs with an additional 19 walks. He increased his average to .261 and on-base percentage to .383 at the end of May.
Unfortunately for McCutchen and the Phillies, he went down with an ACL tear on the bases on a fluke play in the game against the Padres on June 3.
McCutchen’s season ended with a .256 average, 10 home runs, 29 RBI and 43 walks after he was on pace for a 27 home run, 118 walk season.
Defensively, McCutchen was not the Gold Glove-caliber player he was a few years ago, but the soon to be 33-year old is still solid, posting a .982 fielding percentage playing most of his games in left field.
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There were certainly many reasons for the Phillies demise as the season progressed, but one was the loss of McCutchen. The Phillies were 32-26 before his injury and 49-55 after. His presence at the top of the order was vitally important, and the Phillies failed to find a suitable leadoff man for the rest of the season.
McCutchen appears to be progressing well from ACL surgery and with his work ethic, there is nothing at this point indicating he won’t be ready for next season.
The outfield is full with Adam Haseley showing he can play center field and Bryce Harper in right. Will Jay Bruce or Corey Dickerson be back? What about Brad Miller, who put on a power surge at the end of the season. Roman Quinn showed some signs that he can contribute if he remains healthy.
In any event, McCutchen should be welcomed back with open arms and be the starting left fielder in 2020. A season with a healthy McCutchen will go a long way in solidifying an offense that was inconsistent in 2019.