Since being drafted 11th overall by Pittsburgh in the 2005 draft, McCutchen has been watched like a hawk. Buccos fans, front office members and baseball supporters in general long awaited the arrival of this new prodigy.
“Cutch” as he is lovingly referred to as, has risen through the Pirates minor league system alot slower than many fans would have liked. Mind you he is only 22 years old right now, but being drafted as a high schooler at the age of 18, McCutchen needed time to develop and mature, not only as a baseball player, but as a man.
Cutch played for the Hickory Crawdads, Altoona Curve and Indianapolis Indians during his minor league tenure. At each stop along the way Andrew recieved high honors and accolades. He was named the most outstanding major league prospect in 2006 for the SAL League, also in ’06 he was a mid and post season all-star in the SAL. He was also an all-star at the AAA level in Indianapolis.
Andrew is known as a 5-tool player. He has the power, speed, and defensive ability to be an outstanding all around player. Alot of his success over the past handful of years can be attributed to the time he spent in the Arizona Fall League. Many current MLB All-Stars have spent time in the AFL to fine tune their skills in preparation for a big league callup. David Wright, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard all played in the League. It was very beneficial for them because you can see where there are now.
For Cutch to take it upon himslef to join the League andproperly play against fellow competitors shows how much he cares about his own future, as well as the future of the Pirates. His development in the minor leagues and AFL have already paid dividends as he is up in the majors living out every little boys dream.
Andrew McCutchen strapped on his black and gold and took teh field at PNC Park. Greeted by a throng of cheers Cutch did not let the bright lights faze him as he went 2-4 with an RBI and stolen base in his major league debut. Since his first game he has also delievered quite well.
Through four games he is batting .333 with 6 hits and4 RBI. His biggest game came against the Astros on Sunday June 7th. The rookie went 3-5 with 1 RBI. He continues to drive the ball to the outfield and blaze around the basepaths with tremendous speed. With Nyjer Morgan and Cutch at the top of the lineup the Bucs have what could be one of the fastest outfield units in the majors. Brandon Moss plays an above average right field and has carralled in his fair share of clutch plays.
PNC Park has a wide open outfield and with Andrew as teh chief in center, opposing teams better adjust their game plans, no ball is dropping in.
Only time will tell to see if Andrew will pan out. Will he be somebody the Pirates can build around? Will he be just a basic lead-off hitter? Can he generate some pop and give the Pirates a much needed deep ball threat? Only time will tell.
There is alot of weight being placed on Andrew McCutchen’s shoulders. He is assuming a starting role and filling in the shoes of Nate McLouth. Bucco fans were deeply affected by the trade of McLouth. He was our best hitter and threat at the plate. He too was fast on the base paths and a top notch center fielder. We knew all along what we had in Cutch, but just thought Nate and Drew would be in the outfield together. The best lasi plans of mice and men often go awry and they surely did in the case of the Pirates future. Whether it will be a step forward or a step back, once again, only time will tell.
Cutch has a certain poise and swagger about him that just screams success. He has a proven track record and teh ability to change a team for the better. The Pirates need a change to break out of their 16 years of losing and McCutchen is the torpedo that will crack the iceberg. If he is as good as advertised, the front office of the Bucs must then be the ones who have to live up to the pressure. The Pirates have long been known to develop their players then trade them when they become stars (ie: Brian Giles, Jason Bay, Nate McLouth etc). To break out of teh negativce image the front office must show loyalty and dedication to not just themselves but to the players and fans of Pittsburgh. They must be able to keep McCutchen in good graces and develop the personnel aroudn him. They can do it, theres no doubt about that, I wouldn’t be writing this blog if I truly didn’t believe that. McCutchen is a sign of things to come and hope on the horizon.