Top 5: Andrew McCutchen Defensive Plays of the Year

Andrew McCutchen Gold Glove

Although he didn’t win a Gold Glove, Andrew McCutchen had a solid year on defense. From a sabermetric standpoint, Cutch improved his fielding in various ways in 2013.

Here are five of his best defensive plays from this season…

April 16th, 2013, robbing Matt Carpenter

vs carpenter

Check out how much real estate he covered on this one:

Andrew McCutchen defense 1

He put his body on the line too:

cutch slow mo catch

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– May 16th, 2013, robbing Ryan Braun

cutch robs braun

Great catch here to rob noted liar/cheater Ryan Braun of extra bases. And it produced this cool picture:

andrew mccutchen center field

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July 30th, 2013, robbing Carlos Beltran + double play

In game 1 of the doubleheader sweep against the Cardinals, Cutch turned this great double play to end St. Louis’ first inning threat:

andrew mccutchen double play

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August 6th, 2013, robbing Adeiny Hechavarria

diving catch vs miami

Considering the scenario (3-3 game, top of the 7th, men on first and second, one out), this was a must-catch. Cutch covered a ton of ground as usual and converted the great diving grab. This catch was featured in SportsCenter’s “DaDaDa” commercial (48 second mark):

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September 12, 2013, robbing Junior Lake

vs junior lake

Whether it’s at the plate or in the field, Cutch’s abilities on a baseball diamond are insane. Looking forward to watching him dominate again in 2014.

152 days until Opening Day.

Go Bucs

McCutchen quietly improving his defense

Andrew McCutchen Defense

All-Star center fielder Andrew McCutchen made another tremendous run-saving grab on Tuesday night:

Really, he’s been doing it all year:

While his fielding percentage is down from last season, let’s look at some metrics that exhibit Cutch’s improvement as a defender…

rARM – Outfield Arm Runs Saved runs above average

2011: -3
2012: -3
2013: 4

McCutchen’s arm has historically been weak, but he’s actually saved some runs with it this season.

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rPM – Plus/Minus Runs Saved runs above average

2011: 8
2012: 0
2013: 5

He was an average 0 in 2012, but has saved five runs above-average this year.

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DRS – Total Defensive Runs Saved runs above average

2011: 5
2012: -5
2013: 9

Another run-saving stat that shows his improvement from last season.

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RZR – Revised Zone Rating

2011: .928
2012: .933
2013: .953

RZR measures “the proportion of balls hit into a fielder’s zone that he successfully converted into an out” (Hardball Times). This is where Cutch’s speed really helps him out – anything hit into center field, he has a chance to catch.

His RZR has improved every season since he entered the league in 2009. A .940+ RZR is consider excellent, and Cutch has conquered that this season.

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UZR – Ultimate Zone Rating

2011: 3.4
2012: -8.8
2013: 6.4

Cutch posted a below-average -8.8 UZR in 2012, but has turned into an above-average 6.4 UZR defender in 2013.

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Andrew McCutchen catch Yoenis Cespedes

Sabermetrically-speaking, McCutchen probably deserved the criticism for his defense last year (-3 rARM, -5 DRS, -8.8 UZR), yet he still won the Gold Glove.

In recent years, OFFENSE has been a deciding factor for the award, even though it’s supposed to be for DEFENSE. McCutchen’s MVP-caliber offense in 2012 definitely played a role in his defeat of strong center fielders Michael Bourn and Drew Stubbs.

However, the Gold Glove decision process will apparently feature a sabermetric component from now on. Cutch’s defensive metrics look good so far. Maybe he’ll really earn the Gold Glove this year?

Stats via FanGraphs

Top Ten Pirates of the PNC Park Era: #2 Andrew McCutchen


2009 22 108 124 12 54 22 .286 .365 .471 .836
2010 23 154 163 16 56 33 .286 .365 .449 .814
2011 24 158 148 23 89 23 .259 .364 .456 .820
2012 25 157 194 31 96 20 .327 .400 .553 .953
4 Yrs 577 629 82 295 98 .290 .374 .484 .858
Andrew McCutchen took over centerfield at PNC Park in 2009 after Nate McLouth was traded, and fans weren’t happy at first.  Cutch debuted with an impressive showing against the Mets, and hasn’t looked back since.  In 2010, his first full season, he put up impressive numbers but was the lone bright spot on a terrible team.  The Bucs took off in 2011, led by Cutch, who may have become too fatigued and put too much pressure on himself as the team faded down the stretch.  After ending the first month of the 2012 season without a home run, Cutch went off.  He flirted with a .400 average and was the clear MVP winner as the team soared to the league-best record in July.  Unfortunately, that .380+ average slowly dropped as August began and the team collapsed as Cutch cooled off.  But what’s most impressive about his numbers from last season is that he did it all while having down months in April, August, and September.  Still, he picked up a Silver Slugger Award and Gold Glove, which won’t be the last awards he’ll win in his career.  Even with his electrifying defense and pop at the plate, he still has room to improve.  Luckily, Cutch is locked up through at least 2018 and when this franchise finally gets turned around, he’ll be right in the middle of everything.  Within the next few years, he could very well move into the #1 spot in this top ten.

Photo: Brock Fleeger/Creative Commons

Cutch nominated for Gold Glove

Andrew McCutchen was nominated for the Gold Glove Award among National League center fielders. The other two NL CF finalists are Atlanta’s Michael Bourn and Cincinnati’s Drew Stubbs.

To be honest, McCutchen isn’t exactly a stellar outfielder. Although he makes some spectacular grabs from time to time, he definitely exhibits some weaknesses. His arm is particularly weak, and significantly downgrades his defensive abilities.

The idea that a player must be a star offensively to win a Gold Glove is often tossed around, even though this is a defensive award. Cutch certainly fits the description, as he excelled at the plate with a .327 avg, 31 HR, and .953 OPS. The last Pirate to win, Nate McLouth in 2008, also had an excellent season at the plate that year. However, Drew Stubbs is an exception; his offense is abysmal (.213 avg, 166 K’s), but he displays terrific defense.

Anyway, the other finalists around the league are as follows:

American League

Pitcher: Jeremy Hellickson, Jake Peavy, C.J. Wilson

Catcher: Alex Avila, Russell Martin, A.J. Pierzynski, Matt Wieters

First base: Adrian Gonzalez, Eric Hosmer, Mark Teixeira

Second base: Dustin Ackley, Robinson Cano, Dustin Pedroia

Shortstop: Elvis Andrus, J.J. Hardy, Brendan Ryan

Third base: Adrian Beltre, Brandon Inge, Mike Moustakas

Left field: Alex Gordon, Desmond Jennings, David Murphy

Center field: Austin Jackson, Adam Jones, Mike Trout

Right field: Shin-Soo Choo, Jeff Francoeur, Josh Reddick

National League

Pitcher: Bronson Arroyo, Mark Buehrle, Clayton Kershaw

Catcher: Yadier Molina, Miguel Montero, Carlos Ruiz

First base: Freddie Freeman, Adam LaRoche, Joey Votto

Second base: Darwin Barney, Aaron Hill, Brandon Phillips

Shortstop: Zack Cozart, Ian Desmond, Jose Reyes, Jimmy Rollins

Third base: Chase Headley, Aramis Ramirez, David Wright

Left field: Ryan Braun, Carlos Gonzalez, Martin Prado

Center field: Bourn, McCutchen, Stubbs

Right field: Jay Bruce, Andre Ethier, Jason Heyward

Winners will be revealed Tuesday night at 9:30 pm on ESPN2 during a special 2012 Rawlings Gold Glove Award Announcement Show.

Go Cutch