Hidden Vigorish

Detailed Analysis of The Pittsburgh Pirates

Cutch on the Road That Leads to Cooperstown

How much do fans really appreciate greatness as they see it? Can you spot a legendary performer in the moment? Or does it take some time and a little retrospection to truly comprehend how great an athlete was? I think there are a few instances where fans can grasp the magnitude of a legendary athlete during the prime of his playing years. Everyone knew Michael Jordan was one of the top two or three greatest basketball players that ever lived long before his playing days ended. But in most cases it is absence that makes the heart grow fonder. Even beloved athletes are seldom recognized for how great they truly are until their careers come to an end. I believe that will be the case for Pirates CF Andrew McCutchen.
There is little question that Andrew McCutchen is loved by the Pirates’ fan base. He is an easy guy to like. He has a great smile, an infectious optimism, and he is one of the best baseball players in the game today. But there is a difference between identifying contemporary greatness and historical greatness. What McCutchen is doing right now in the prime of his career rivals many of the greatest Hall of Fame outfielders. I’m not sure many fans realize that, but some sabermetric analysts do. ZiPS projections for 2015 listed McCutchen’s No. 1 comp as Duke Snider. Snider is one of the all time great players in baseball history. Baseball-reference.com lists Andre Dawson and Dave Winfield among the 10 most similar hitters to McCutchen thru his age 27 season. That makes three Hall of Fame players that McCutchen is being compared to. And Cutch is arguably a greater player for his era than those three great players were in their playing days. Snider, Winfield, and Dawson never finished in the top 3 of the MVP vote in back to back seasons. McCutchen has an active streak of 3 straight seasons in which he has finished in the top 3 of the NL MVP vote. That is a quite an achievement for a player that just turned 28 years old. Andrew McCutchen’s career still has a long road ahead. There is no doubt in my mind that road leads to Cooperstown, NY.

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