Phillies: Has Andrew McCutchen finally found his stride?

Philadelphia Phillies center fielder Andrew McCutchen (Dale Zanine/USA TODAY Sports)
Philadelphia Phillies center fielder Andrew McCutchen (Dale Zanine/USA TODAY Sports) /
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When the Philadelphia Phillies signed outfielder Andrew McCutchen to a three-year contract before the 2019 season, they knew he wouldn’t fill up the stat sheet the way he did during the better part of the decade for the cross-state Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Phillies did, however, expect him to be a steady, top-of-the-lineup force for at least the first couple of seasons. Injuries and a pandemic limited the former MVP to just 116 games — slashing .255/.352/.445 with 20 home runs and 63 RBI — in that span. These are respectable numbers, but far from eye-popping.

Phillies outfielder Andrew McCutchen had a forgettable April showing.

McCutchen has had a glacially slow start to the 2021 season. Last month, he hit a dismal .169/.301/.548, with as many errors in the field as he had home runs (1). Defensively, McCutchen has been just as bad, if not worse — misplaying several balls hit to left field. His -2.8 Def rating on Fangraphs is the third-worst of all MLB left fielders and the worst in the National League. Meanwhile, McCutchen currently sports a -2 DRS (defensive runs saved), which indicates he has cost the Phillies two runs defensively this season.

A part of McCutchen’s struggles at the plate can simply be chalked up to bad luck. He’s currently sitting on a .270 batting average on balls in play (BABIP) this season, way below his .323 career average. McCutchen’s career-low was in 2011 when he had a BABIP of .291. This indicates that when he has made contact, the ball just hasn’t fallen for him and he’s been overly unlucky.