Andrew McCutchen is a terrific defender. Kevin Kiermaier is excellent with the glove. So were Jim Edmonds, Willie Mays, and still Adrian Beltre. The aforementioned trio sold their careers off good glovework, not to mention decades of all-star caliber hitting. McCutchen plays on both sides of the glove, and he’s a pretty excellent player. The graph below displays the offensive statistics of some comparable hitters to McCutchen. All of whom are Hall of Famers, but more importantly, a case can be made that McCutchen is a superior hitter to Dave Winfield, Jim Rice, and Andre Dawson through respective careers.
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The Hall of Fame threshold has changed. In fairness to guys like Winfield who, nowadays, with advanced stats taking the place of ordinary ones, might not be worthy of the votes he received fifteen-some odd years ago. McCutchen’s got it all though. The win value, the ability to essentially turn a long-suffering organization in a complete-180 by himself, and win an MVP to boot.
I organized the above-pictured graph to display my reasoning for why ‘Cutch isn’t only deserving of Cooperstown down the line, but why he’s clearly one of the great all-around offensive threats in the game and quite possibly, one of the best we’ve seen in a long time. It appears that the consensus around the game is that hitters are better than ever, just like pitchers, but an especially great hitter is one that runs the bases well, gets on base, and hits the longball. So with McCutchen’s offensive prowess ranking better than some historically terrific hitters, you have to wonder if he’s even reached his peak. McCutchen hasn’t even reached his 30th birthday. There would appear to be many more great seasons on the horizon for the Pittsburgh outfielder.
Even a mediocre McCutchen for the next seven-or-so years just needs to stay healthy for Hall of Fame consideration. An fWAR of +60 starts the conversation about Cooperstown, with +80 all but guaranteeing you a bronzed plaque in the Hall. It’s likely that McCutchen will enter that plateau before garnering a milestone such as the 3,000th hit or certain number of home runs. He’s amassed a career +38.6 fWAR, is in the midst of another stellar year, and his club is the third best in the game. His impact is substantial and has been for some time.
Another few years of the same kind of production could get him a future Cooperstown vote from those that still focus on the milestones that need to be reached in order to get there.