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MLB

Rant Sports MLB Top 50 Players of 2014: No. 4 Andrew McCutchen

Andrew McCutchen

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been a long time coming for Pittsburgh Pirates fans. Waiting 20 years for a postseason appearance and even a .500 record can cause a lot of built up frustration. The baseball world saw what 20 years of anger and frustration looks like when the Pirates hosted the Cincinnati Reds in the National League Wild Card game; the fans let all of their frustration out on Johnny Cueto and his Reds. A major reason for the Pirates’ fans being able to release their frustration is superstar center fielder Andrew McCutchen.

McCutchen seems to be a lock to win NL MVP after a remarkable 2013 campaign. Last season, Cutch hit .317/.404/.508 with a 155 wRC+. In 674 plate appearances, McCutchen hit 21 home runs and 27 stolen bases. In 2013, McCutchen was second in all of baseball and led the NL with a 8.2 fWAR.

In 2012, McCutchen was even better than he was last season. In 673 plate appearances, he hit 31 home runs and stole 20 bases. He hit for a .327/.400/.553 slash line with a 158 wRC+. He didn’t have a great season defensively, but he did hit well enough to win an NL Gold Glove award.

From 2012 to 2013, Cutch made some drastic improvements in his game. He went from being below average defensively in 2012 to being almost worthy of a Gold Glove in 2013. In 2012 he walked in 10.4 percent of his plate appearances, and that jumped to 11.6 percent in 2013. His strikeout percent dropped from 19.6 in 2012 to just 15.0 in 2013.

McCutchen is one of the most complete, all-around players in all of baseball. He has resurrected an extremely proud franchise. He already has several awards, including a Silver Slugger, a Gold Glove and in all likelihood, an MVP award soon. There is no doubt in my mind that Cutch is a top five player in MLB.