MLB Preview 2013: #McCutchenb4Trout Should Be The Trend For Fantasy Baseball Owners

McCutchen hit .446 in July and had an OPS of .861 in September/October
McCutchen hit .446 in July and had an OPS of .861 in September/October

It isn’t a secret that everyone who plays fantasy baseball will flock to Mike Trout this season. You have good reason to do so, not only did he put up monster numbers in 2012 but he has continued that in spring training this season (.406 BA, .525 OBP).

I know those are spring statistics, and in two weeks everything resets to all zeroes (hooray baseball!!). But I have a general strategy when it comes to fantasy sports in general and, although it pains me to give away my secrets, I think it is important for me to keep it real with you on this blog. Lets take fantasy football for example; this past season the average draft position for quarterback Aaron Rodgers was  third while Ray Rice and Arian Foster alternated between first and second. Again, I don’t fault anyone for those selections, but my number one pick was a guy whose average position in all of my leagues was 11th.

Drew Brees.

I like to look at the guys who will have just as much (if not more) value than the sexy picks according to “experts”. So I’ll gladly concede points in one category to maximize in another. Which is what brings me to Andrew McCutchen. The Pirates have found themselves a good one in the 26-year old outfielder, and i think it’s time you pay a little more attention to what you could have if you steer clear from the trendy picks right out of the gate. All it takes is a slight change in strategy that may benefit you come championship time.

McCutchen’s 2012 season was special to say the least:

  • 31 home runs
  • .400 On-Base Percentage
  • .327 Batting Average
  • 20 Stolen Bases
  • .953 OPS

Those numbers when compared to Trout’s will show you that he outpaced Trout in just about every category.

So what draws people away from McCutchen?

Well, for starters, his market doesn’t help. Pittsburgh hasn’t had a winning season in 20 years so that will take some of the shine. Another is team comparison/potential. When comparing lineups most will favor Trout’s for the simple fact of who he is hitting in front of (Pujols and Hamilton). But McCutchen put up those numbers without the same cast around him, and all he’s done is improve every season since he’s been in the majors. Even when you compare him to Matt Kemp he gets on base at a higher percentage and hits for a better average. That goes along with everything mentioned before.

Trout is projected to go second overall on average and Kemp (the number one player going into 2012) is projected at fifth. If you have a high enough pick, and are looking at these three (assuming one is available) take McCutchen before Trout. Then tweet it (#McCutchenb4Trout), post it on Facebook and any other social media site you frequent. Because aside from it being what you should do, McCutchen is deserving of having that attention anyway.


13 thoughts on “MLB Preview 2013: #McCutchenb4Trout Should Be The Trend For Fantasy Baseball Owners

  1. After all your self-appointed sports genius blather why would I have thought you wouldn’t have realized this? My bad. My confusion wasn’t of your point, it was actually me over-estimating you.


    1. First, my “self appointed sports genius blather”? This is what happens when you’re wrong and out of bullets? You resort to snark? I don’t need to be over estimated as a “sports writer” because I’m not one. This is my blog where I write about my opinions and like to discuss/defend/debate them. Remember that next time you assume I need to “play by the rules” of sports writing and take it on the chin despite spending the majority of this conversation being “talked down to” instead of “talked with”. Second, the advice is just that, advice. It is practical when a majority of leagues have owners who might not know what the heck they’re doing and only know the “big ticket guys”. Gun to your head, if you had to name outfielders and didn’t know many, Kemp, Trout, Braun, Hamilton and even Ichiro would probably come before McCutchen. So yes, there is a possibility he will be there when you intersperse those names with everything else available. And lastly, if you’re looking for draft advice (SPOILER FOR MY NEXT POST) I wouldn’t draft an outfielder first round no matter what. I don’t care who it is, everyone knows if you have that high of a pick, you go best catcher, third, short or second basemen first.


  2. I think we can all agree that having either one of these guys on our team will generate numerous stats for many cats. I like this reading mainly because Adam was saying that Cutch could be an alternative choice to Trout. When you talk about an “Outlier” season, Trout would be more of an “Outlier” because he’s had One good season. It’s been taking Cutch longer to morph into the superstar he is becoming. Also being in Pittsburgh, small market team, hurts his fantasy value also. If i was on the clock and I had both of these superstars on the clock, I would most likely pick Cutch because I would not want to deal with a “sophomore” Slump which could hurt my team. With Cutch I have a better line of expectations, which I know he’ll hit. With Trout, His bar is so high and if he doesn’t repeat those same stats, I’m upset. Trout is a great pick but he is not at the Pujols or Miggy status.


    1. Why don’t you stop trying to convince me how good Trout is and understand something here, my point isn’t to put Trout down (as it seems you can’t really understand because you don’t get it). My POINT is that EVERYBODY will be aiming for Trout as an OF on their squad. SO, with that said, I gave them an alternative on how to focus on building THEIR TEAM. I compared the two OUTFIELDERS to help people realize that they can get the same value without having the guys projected to get snagged before them. You seem to have an issue with things you don’t entirely understand, and I’ve noticed that when that happens, you start throwing in little jabs (the video game cover quip wasn’t really necessary). You can put as much money on your hunch as you want, it isn’t about who will have a better season (it never has been). YOU brought that angle to the table, not me. All I was doing was letting people know that once they get past the names and look at the numbers, they may be able to look at another position FIRST and then come back to outfield knowing McCutchen will be just as good a pick as any. Looking for EQUAL value in that particular spot. You don’t know if Trout will steal 50+ bases and score 130+ times, why would I? Because of 2012? Because they signed Josh Hamilton and have the “best lineup” in the big leagues? In the last 10 years, FIVE players have scored 130 runs or more. FIVE. That’s it. Since Scioscia has been the manager ONE guy has stolen more than 50 bases. So don’t tell me you KNOW he is going to get that.


      1. The video game comment was addressed to the comment regarding AM’s small market limiting how well known he is. Any real fantasy player, in addition, knows about him. Also, you should limit your attacks as a “writer”. No real sports writer attacks and/or criticizes those that read their writing. Finally, okay…you think you can get another player and take AM later on. In what, a 4-team league? Any league (whether 10 or 12 teams) in which a team has a chance to select Trout (top 3 picks) isn’t going to get to pick again until picks 18-20 or 22-24 where AM will no longer be available. So whether you were or weren’t comparing these 2 particular players, at least give some practical advice.


  3. Sure it is. The stats you listed earlier were better than Trout’s, right? Doesn’t matter by how much. You still miss my point, YOU like EVERYONE else will be gunning for Trout or Kemp before McCutchen in drafts. I’m saying take McCutchen before them and focus on getting his value while working on positions that traditionally are harder to find that value. You’re so focused on proving to me how good Trout is when that was never the question. You also seem focused on proving this to me at a still very early stage in his career. You also stated McCutchen’s “outlier” of a season. Power numbers have all increased every year since he’s gotten to the big leagues, if anything one year of Trout (a guy who never hit more than ten home runs in a season or drove in more than 60) is the outlier.


    1. But you used out-paced…that’s my confusion. AM led in a couple categories (tb, RBI, bb) where trout, in reality, out-paced him but didn’t play as much. In 3 wks more worth of games trout easily surpasses mccutchen. And leading by 1/1000 of a point in avg and OBP is stastistically inconsequential. The only fantasy format in which your philosophy makes any sense is an auction-style draft, which is the less common (by a considerable measure) draft format. In a standard draft format it makes zero sense to select anybody that will not compile as many gross fantasy points. If you are, in fact, referring to the less common draft format, you should indicate as much to not confuse your readership.


      1. And that is all I was trying to say with the article. I don’t think there is “confusion” among anyone who knows the game and plays fantasy sports. McCutchen at this point is a PROVEN commodity. We can speculate whether or not the three weeks he wasn’t playing mattered or not, fact was he didn’t play them. Again, Trout is good, but in STANDARD leagues (auction or otherwise) the strategy makes sense because you get track record, as well as the opportunity to focus your attention on positions that, traditionally, owners have problems finding value. Not to mention your entire argument is based on whether Trout will produce like that again (which he will not). McCutchen is the better gamble because he’s shown improvement, and there isn’t any reason, barring injury, he should take a step back.


        1. Focus your attention on other positions? Both of these guys play same position…so anybody’s focus is irrelevant. I didn’t say trout’s one season is his norm. We don’t know. What we know is he’ll have 50+ SB and 130+ runs (both of which supersede any fictitious sophomore slump theory). Mccutchen just had a great season but anybody that knows the game realizes the improvement went beyond his career trajectory and he will most surely revert towards his mean production. In addition, history shows that the more he separates himself from his teammates the more his opponents will not pitch to him decreasing his gross statistical value in fantasy (not real-life) baseball. If you argued Cano over Trout due to position paucity and fantasy value you’d make a good point. But you are comparing two OFs, one of which with known speed and a deep lineup behind him to assure seeing pitches, scoring runs and another with less lineup protection, less year-to-year transferable value (speed), coming off a breakout season, winning a fan vote for video game cover (even though he plays in Pittsburgh). If miggy is off the board and you’re not going with cano there is little reason other than a superstitious hunch to go with AM ahead of MT. I’ll even put $20 bucks that MT out produces AM in fantasy this upcoming season with an out for either side if either player goes on DL. Takers?


  4. I’m confused. Out-paced? McCutchen lead in avg .327 to .326, in RBI 96 to 83, walks 70 to 67, K 132 to 139, OBP .400 to .399, TB 328 to 315. Not really a great use of out-paced…leads one to believe there was actually a difference between the two.

    For “out-paced” take into account that Trout led in runs 129 to 107, stolen bases 49 to 20, CS 5 to 12, SLG .564 to .553 AND OPS (which is from your list above).

    Trout’s runaway wins in net SB +36 and runs +22 “out-pace” AM’s lead in TB +13, RBI +13, K/BB +10. All while playing in 18 fewer games due to a late call-up. A full season of a base stealing, power hitting lead off guy in front of established RBI guys is an easy take over the only guy in Pitt…unless the only stat you care about is IBB. But mostly impressed you didn’t go “homer” again and give us another Atlanta Brave.


    1. Pretty sure one of the definitions of “outpace” is to be more than. McCutchen was just that in a lot of the categories you listed. The point of the article wasn’t to McCutchen is better than Trout, I took all those things into account. The point of the article was to give people an alternative 1st pick over the names that will probably come off the board beforehand. You also know what you’re going to get out of McCutchen over a full 162-game season, we don’t know if Trout is going to duplicate those numbers, we can only assume he will after his rookie season and hope he doesn’t go into a sophomore slump.


      1. An extra one one-thousandth of a point of avg or OBP isn’t really “out-pacing”. And why would you trust McCutchen’s outlier season over Trout’s? In fantasy you have to make sure you get the certainties. Trout is going to steal bases and score runs…neither of those stats slump. One stat that does slump is BABIP…where your choice increased more than 50 points over any other season in his career.

        McCutchen is a top-5 fantasy OF, but not ahead of Trout! Out-pace…the only stat he outpaced him was in strikeouts (trout k’s more). In all other offensive categories Trout’s pace was ahead.


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