By Jason Shetler
Andrew McCutchen has put himself in the National League MVP discussion each of the last four seasons while winning the coveted award in 2013. The Pirates signed him to a team-friendly extension in Spring Training of 2012, and it’s been one of the best decisions made during the Neal Huntington Era. While McCutchen isn’t off to a really strong start to begin 2016, there seems to be this notion that he’s really struggling and is hardly contributing. Here are some numbers that refute that claim.
McCutchen has a .238 batting average, but he does have a respectable .340 on base percentage, largely due to a solid walk rate of 12.1%, which is right at his career norm (12.1%). His wRC+ is at 110, so he’s still been able to create runs above the league average. McCutchen’s power remains quite good, as his .443 slugging percentage is currently third best among NL center fielders behind only Dexter Fowler of the Cubs and Marcell Ozuna of the Marlins.
Entering May, McCutchen’s OPS stood at .780, which is very much an above average figure for a center fielder. Also consider the fact that his OPS going into May last season was much worse at .636, and he wound up finishing fifth in the NL MVP voting. I’m not suggesting that McCutchen’s numbers in the early going of 2016 are MVP like, because obviously they haven’t, but he’s certainly been more good than mediocre at the plate thus far.