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Entries in Andrew McCutchen (7)

Friday
Sep212012

McCutchen joins the 30-homer club; Pirates join the sub-.500 club

You can't say enough about Andrew McCutchen's season for the fading Pirates:

McCutchen has indeed been a hitting star at .339 with an OPS of .978

The 2012 30-homer club:

The Pirates single-season 30-homer club:

RkPlayerHRYear
1 Ralph Kiner 54 1949
2 Ralph Kiner 51 1947
3 Willie Stargell 48 1971
4 Ralph Kiner 47 1950
5 Willie Stargell 44 1973
6 Ralph Kiner 42 1951
7 Ralph Kiner 40 1948
8 Brian Giles 39 1999
9 Brian Giles 38 2002
10 Brian Giles 37 2001
11 Ralph Kiner 37 1952
12 Jason Bay 35 2006
13 Brian Giles 35 2000
14 Dick Stuart 35 1961
15 Frank Thomas 35 1958
16 Aramis Ramirez 34 2001
17 Barry Bonds 34 1992
18 Barry Bonds 33 1990
19 Willie Stargell 33 1972
20 Willie Stargell 33 1966
21 Jason Bay 32 2005
22 Bobby Bonilla 32 1990
23 Willie Stargell 32 1979
24 Reggie Sanders 31 2003
25 Jason Thompson 31 1982
26 Willie Stargell 31 1970
27 Andrew McCutchen 30 2012
28 Jeff King 30 1996
29 Dave Parker 30 1978
30 Frank Thomas 30 1953
Provided by Baseball-Reference.comView Play Index Tool Used
Generated 9/21/2012.

The 2012 sub-.500 club

TmLgWLW-L%Strklast10last20last30
ARI NL 74 75 .497 L 1 6-4 10-10 14-16
PIT NL 74 75 .497 L 2 2-8 6-14 9-21
SDP NL 72 78 .480 W 1 7-3 12-8 20-10
SEA AL 70 80 .467 L 4 3-7 7-13 14-16
KCR AL 68 81 .456 W 2 6-4 10-10 15-15
BOS AL 68 83 .450 L 2 5-5 6-14 9-21
TOR AL 66 82 .446 L 3 3-7 9-11 11-19
NYM NL 66 83 .443 L 5 1-9 6-14 10-20
MIA NL 66 84 .440 L 1 4-6 7-13 12-18
MIN AL 62 88 .413 L 1 4-6 9-11 12-18
CLE AL 62 88 .413 W 1 3-7 7-13 8-22
COL NL 58 91 .389 L 6 2-8 5-15 12-18
CHC NL 58 92 .387 L 4 4-6 8-12 11-19
HOU NL 48 102 .320 L 3 4-6 8-12 9-21
Provided by Baseball-Reference.comView Original Table
Generated 9/21/2012.
Wednesday
Sep052012

McCutchen four-hits his way into the batting lead

  

For me the NL batting race isn't professional, it's personal.

There have been 172 games this season in which a batter has had at least four hits in a game and no one has done it more frequently than Andrew McCutchenwho had four hits and drove in three last night to lead his Pittsburgh Pirates to a 6-2 win over Houston.

Four-hit game leaders

RkPlayer#ABH
1 Andrew McCutchen 6 27 24
         
2 Ben Revere 5 24 20
3 Daniel Murphy 5 23 20
4 Austin Jackson 5 27 20
         
5 Joey Votto 4 18 16
6 Mike Trout 4 20 16
7 Denard Span 4 23 16
8 Derek Jeter 4 19 16
         
9 Ruben Tejada 3 16 12
10 Justin Morneau 3 13 12
11 Yadier Molina 3 13 12
12 Steve Lombardozzi 3 15 12
13 Omar Infante 3 16 12
14 Torii Hunter 3 15 12
15 Matt Holliday 3 15 12
16 Carlos Gonzalez 3 13 12
17 Yunel Escobar 3 14 12
18 Alejandro De Aza 3 15 12
19 Pedro Ciriaco 3 15 12
20 Miguel Cabrera 3 15 12
21 Melky Cabrera 3 13 12
22 Ryan Braun 3 15 12
23 Elvis Andrus 3 17 12

 Provided by Baseball-Reference.comView Play Index Tool Used Generated 9/5/2012.

McCutchen's four hits lifted him into the lead in the NL batting race over Melky Cabrera who is selfishly watching his Giants teammates battle to reach the postseason.

NL Batting Leaders

  1. McCutchen (PIT).347
  2. Cabrera (SFG).346
  3. Posey (SFG).326
  4. Molina (STL).324
  5. Wright (NYM).313
  6. Gonzalez (COL).312
  7. Braun (MIL).312
  8. Fowler (COL).308
  9. Holliday (STL).305
  10. Hill (ARI).302

Throughout this season, Andrew McCutchen has been slamming out hits (okay, admittedly he only hit .252 in August, but at least he wasn't juicing). His plate discipline has been assisted by pitchers who have pitched to McCutchen's strengths and McCutchen has responded.

Throughout this season, Andrew McCutchen has been slamming out hits. His plate discipline has been assisted by pitchers who have pitched to McCutchen's strengths and McCutchen responds. 

I want to share four graphics with you: 
  1. The first is a heat map that dramatically shows you the location of pitches that has led to McCutchen feasting in a season-long hit buffet.
  2. The second, lifts off the top layer to show you the numbers underneath the heat map.
  3. The third, illustrates the pitches that McCutchen saw last night.
  4. Finally, the four hits that McCutchen had last night

Here's how McCutchen has put together an NL leading .347 batting average.

As you can see, McCutchen loves the ball on the inside lower-half of the plate.

But to truly understand what you are seeing, let's strip away the top layer and see how this heat map above speaks volumes.

Look at the numbers in red on the inside of the plate. McCutchen thrives, like most hitters, on pitches right down the middle, hitting .419. But McCutchen punishes pitchers when their pitches miss by just a few inches inside with McCutchen hitting .459 and .400.

But the real difficulty pitchers have is when they are trying to get to those blue areas in the lower right corner of .118 and .125. When they miss, truly by the size of a baseball, McCutchen is a .552 hitter.

The key to a great hitter is being selective, waiting to get the pitch you want and then pouncing on it.

Here are the 21 pitches McCutchen saw last night against the Astros.

Now, look at the location of the pitches that produced McCutchen's three singles and a double last night.

As you can see, it's not that Astros didn't try to get McCutchen out by pitching to his weak zones, it's just that McCutchen, as he has all season long, took advantage of mistakes...pitches in his wheel house.

McCutchen performed professionally last night to regain a batting lead in a race I take personally.

Monday
Jul092012

HR Derby Tidbits: NL Edition

Team Cano (Jose Bautista, Robinson Cano, Prince Fielder, Mark Trumbo) takes on Team Kemp (Carlos Beltran, Carlos Gonzalez, Matt Kemp and Andrew McCutchen) tonight at Kauffman Stadium in the 2012 Home Run Derby (8 PM EST, ESPN). While the Royals' home digs aren't particularly friendly to power hitters during regular games, decreasing homers hits by 27 percent for lefties and 15 percent for righties according to StatCorner, these guys should have little trouble reaching the waterfalls beyond the outfield fences. Here's a closer look at the shots hit by Team Kemp in 2012.

Carlos Beltran

Home Runs: 20

The switch-hitting Beltran, returning to spot where he gracefully roamed the bases and outfield from 198-2004, hasn't yet decided which side he'll swing from tonight. StatCorner's park factors suggest slugging righty would be better, though Beltran has crushed it from both sides this season (.520 slugging percentage and five homers as a right-handed hitter, .550 slugging and 15 HR as a lefty). Beltran might want his BP pitcher to speed it up tonight, as he has hit 14 of his 20 homers against "hard" pitches (fastballs, sinkers and cutters).

Pitch location of Beltran's HRs

Carlos Gonzalez

Home Runs: 17

CarGo doesn't fit the "pull everything in sight" power hitter archetype, hitting eight of his home runs to center field in 2012.  He's extremely adept at clearing the fence on pitches thrown to the outside portion of the plate:

Pitch location of Gonzalez's HRs

Thirteen of his 17 homers have come on pitches thrown away. Gonzalez's middle field power might not serve him especially well at Kauffman Stadium, however, considering that the center field fence is 410 feet from home plate and the power allies are 387 feet.

Matt Kemp

Home Runs: 12

Kemp, on the DL twice this season for left hamstring trouble and making his first appearance on a big league field since late May,  nonetheless ranks in the top 20 among MLB hitters with nine home runs cracked against fastballs. He has spread his homers around, too, going oppo seven times, hitting four to center field and pulling just one ball over the fence this season. He hit seven opposite-field home runs total in 2011.

Pitch location of Kemp's HRs

Andrew McCutchen

Home Runs: 18

'Cutch has made a habit of providing souvenirs for bleacher creatures in all parts of the park this season, blasting six home runs to the opposite field, four to center and eight to the pull side. He has done most of that damage against fastballs, with 13 of his 18 home runs coming against the heat. Pitchers have thrown McCutchen a heater in the strike zone nearly 57 percent of the time despite his fastball mastery, well above the 51-52 percent league average.

Pitch location of McCutchen's HRs