McCutchen's fantasy baseball player profile
- McCutchen's talent outweighs Adam L. Jones', the indicators support that, and the impact shows up in nearly every relevant category. The Pirates nurtured McCutchen perfectly; he spent quality time at each of his minor league spots, made adjustments to newfound weaknesses and proceeded to dominate. The evidence is in his sustained success in his debut.
To begin: McCutchen's batting average skills are more advanced and were better
from the word go, despite the fact that he's a year younger. Each has a history
of high BABIP, but McCutchen has a batter BB/K and makes contact more often
and consistently. There is clear evidence of continual improvement from him
in that regard as well.
McClutchen source of SB, growing HR
- McCutchen can make a bigger impact in one of the two counting categories
that often dictate a player's singular worth: HR and SB. Jones' contributions
have been negligible in the latter, despite stated efforts to improve. McCutchen's
on-base skills combined with his blazing speed and increasing aggressiveness
put him in position to steal 35 bases, minimum.
- Jones seems to hold a clear advantage in home run power, but he enjoyed
the fruits of a big HR/FB spike last year. His flyball rate has hovered around
30 since the early part of 2008, with no sign of growth. McCutchen's is slowly
pushing toward 40; more dingers are simply a matter of physical development.
Jones' ballpark helps him maintain the disparity.
- McCutchen hasn't had any significant health issues; he's in phenomenal shape
and is an outstanding athlete with baseball acumen. Jones has missed time
in each of the past two seasons with injuries. They may not be signs of a
trend, but his ankle injury seems to have earned him a mulligan on what was
shaping up as rapid decline after a hot start to 2009.
: Both players are talented, but McCutchen's is a level or two above that of Jones. McCutchen has a better feel for the game. In areas where Jones has an edge - power, experience, surroundings - the young Buc's upward trends suggest he will continue to narrow the gap. That's the deciding factor between two players who otherwise appear evenly matched.
Cory J. Bonini
Jones' fantasy baseball player profile
- Even though Andrew McCutchen has respectable
pop for his size, he doesn't swing the stick like Jones does. Jones homered
every 24.9 at-bats to McCutchen's dinger every 36.1 at-bats. Smaller guys
occasionally contribute decent power, but Jones is better built for it at
6-foot-2, 210 pounds (McCutchen is 5-foot-11, 175 pounds). McCutchen had one
great power month (21.1 percent HR/FB in August). Camden Yards is a plus park
for right-handed hitters, too, especially for pop.
While McCutchen is a seasoned minor leaguer, he has only one limited year
of major league work (108 games). Jones has scattered big league experience
between the Seattle Mariners and the Baltimore
Orioles, logging 324 games at the game's top level.
Jonesing for more steals, pop
- We expected to see an increased number of stolen bases from Jones, but his
power spiked instead. His groundball percentage jumped to 55.4, and Jones'
flyball rate dipped to 28.1 percent. Most of Jones' contributions came in
the first half last year; injuries slowed his numbers following the break.
These rates should normalize for him in 2010, and an increase in flyballs
would ease any drop-off in HR/FB from 17.8 percent. Given Jones' athleticism,
don't be surprised to see him approach the 22 stolen bases McCutchen accounted
for last year, especially since he worked on improving his conditioning at the Athletes' Performance Institute.
- Jones' strikeout rate dropped to a career-best 19.7, which is pretty good,
and his walk rate climbed to a 6.9 percent, also the highest of his brief
career. While he has a long way to go before he'll be elite in these categories,
the positive trends are encouraging.
- Jones' BABIP was insane before the injuries (.393 in March and April; .378
in May), so even if that normalizes, there's reason to believe he can produce
a better average if healthy the whole year (.270 on the season, .300-plus
before getting hurt).
: On raw talent and athleticism alone, Jones trumps McCutchen, who is no slouch. I like power, and any time I can find a potential uptick in peripheral stats like I see in Jones' 2010 outlook, I'll take my chances. His power doesn't have to accelerate much this year; he already has potential to expand across the board, closer to his 20-20 profile. McCutchen contributes in more categories thanks to stolen bases, but I think the gap in average as well as steals will be narrowed considerably this year.
KFFL staff verdict
About Nicholas Minnix
Minnix is baseball editor and a fantasy football analyst at KFFL. He plays in LABR and Tout Wars and won the FSWA Baseball Industry Insiders League in 2010.
The University of Delaware alum is a regular guest on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio and Baltimore's WNST AM 1570.
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