Last December, when many had their eyes on prized free agent Bryce Harper, the Philadelphia Phillies made a move to ensure they would add some veteran star power to their lineup when they signed Andrew McCutchen to a 3-year/$50 million deal.
While the Phillies ultimately signed Harper as well, McCutchen proved to be a valuable addition for the team in the early going. However, an unfortunate play on the basepaths in early June led to a season-ending ACL tear for McCutchen, and he and the Phillies enter year two of his contract with some major questions.
Here are three numbers to highlight how McCutchen performed in 2019 and what the Phillies can expect from him moving forward.
Two – Career Trips To The Injured List
There is certainly some reason for concern for McCutchen heading into 2020. Yes, he was productive when healthy in 2019, but how does that change coming off of an ACL tear for the 33-year-old?
The good news for the Phillies is that McCutchen has proven himself to be a durable player throughout his career. His 1,452 games played since 2010 are sixth most in the majors, and he has rarely missed time. Prior to 2019, McCutchen’s lone trip to the injured list came in 2014 as a result of a fractured rib.
McCutchen lost a step well before tearing his ACL in June, and had still been a very productive player. There is certainly risk in a player his age returning from that type of injury but if anyone has proven to be durable and reliable in his career, it is McCutchen.
.378 – OBP In 2020
There is no question that McCutchen is not the same player that won National League MVP in 2013. That being said, he still proved to be an extremely valuable piece on the Phillies, and much of this value was added atop the lineup. The Phillies were unable to figure out his replacement as a leadoff hitter following his injury, and that certainly played a role in their struggles down the stretch.
The biggest key to McCutchen’s success atop the lineup was his ability to get on base. He did that in a big way during his two-plus months of 2019 action, and was on pace for his best on-base percentage since 2015. Obviously, McCutchen may not have been able to sustain production this good the entire season, but he certainly showed his value in the lineup prior to his injury.
.542 – Phillies Winning Percentage When McCutchen Played In 2019
There is no denying that the Phillies offense looked different without McCutchen. While he is past his prime, his ability to work pitchers and get on base helped to set the tone for the rest of the lineup. It can’t all be attributed to McCutchen, but the Phillies went 49-54 without him and his presence certainly made a notable difference.
The Phillies desperately need McCutchen to come back strong in 2020 and give them solid production atop the lineup. There is certainly risk considering his age and the severity of the injury he is returning from, but McCutchen’s overall durability and success throughout his career point to a bounce-back in 2020.
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