Fantasy Baseball: Andrew McCutchen vs. Adam L. Jones

by Nicholas Minnix and Cory J. Bonini on March 25, 2010 @ 13:00:00 PDT


Andrew McCutchen, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates

Nicholas Minnix

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.
  • Pittsburgh Pirates OF Andrew McCutchen
    McClutchen source of SB, growing HR
    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.
  • 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.
Closing argument: 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.

Adam L. Jones, OF, Baltimore Orioles

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.
  • Baltimore Orioles OF Adam Jones
    Jonesing for more steals, 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.
  • 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).
Closing argument: 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

Analyst Andrew McCutchen Adam L. Jones
Nicholas Minnix X  
Tim Heaney X  
Bryce McRae X  
Cory J. Bonini   X
Keith Hernandez X  
Eric McClung   X
Matt Trueblood X  

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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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