Andrew McCutchen (22) days until Opening Day.
McCutchen performed at an MVP-caliber level in 2012, earning the Silver Slugger, Gold Glove, and Dapper Dan Sportsman of the Year, among other achievements.
Two questions about number 22…
1. Can he build off of last year? It’ll certainly be tough to top his .327/.400/.553, 31 HR, 96 RBI from a year ago, but the Pirates need another huge year from McCutchen if they want to succeed. He was an absolute bargain at $500,000 last season; even though his new contract kicks in, he’ll still be quite valuable at $4.5 million.
2. Can he contribute for a full season? As we wrote a few weeks ago, Cutch has struggled to piece together a complete MLB season. In both 2011 and 2012, he had some difficulties at the plate down the stretch; a tired McCutchen (and rest of the team) resulted in two consecutive collapses. If he can play solid baseball from April through September, there’s no doubt that he’ll be among the league’s best in 2013.