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