- Full name Andrew Stefan McCutchen
- Born 10/10/1986 in Fort Meade, FL
- Profile Ht.: 5'11" / Wt.: 195 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School Fort Meade
- Debut 06/04/2009
Drafted in the 1st round (11th overall) by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2005 (signed for $1,900,000).
View Draft ReportMcCutchen's star has risen all spring, and he could go in the first 15 picks. Like Volstad, he was an AFLAC All-American last summer, and while he struggled with Team USA in the World Junior Championship, he has followed up with a stellar senior season. McCutchen's game isn't all about tools, though his tools are plus across the board. That starts with the most important tool: the bat. McCutchen has quick hands and a compact swing, producing surprising raw power for his size and giving him the bat speed to lash line drives to all fields. His athletic ability, speed and frame earn comparisons to Mets prospect Lastings Milledge, but he's more polished at the plate, earning 60 and 70 grades from scouts (on the 20-80 scouting scale) with 50 raw power. A former state champion in track as a relay runner, McCutchen has well-above-average speed and should have no trouble playing center field. The biggest question about him is his size and a perceived lack of durability, as some scouts wonder if he can maintain his bat speed over a 140-game professional schedule.
Organization Prospect Rankings
McCutchen ranked No. 1 on this list the past two years, as well as in the Rookielevel Gulf Coast League in 2005 and the low Class A South Atlantic League in 2006. He reached Double-A as a teenager and rated as the No. 2 prospect in the Triple-A International League, where managers tabbed him as the league's most exciting player. McCutchen has quick hands and recognizes pitches extremely well, giving him the ability to wait for the ball to get deeper in the zone while drawing his share of walks. He has outstanding speed that makes him a basestealing threat and a potential Gold Glover. He has outstanding instincts and an average arm in center field. McCutchen is susceptible to breaking pitches, in part because he gets pull-happy, and his power hasn't developed as hoped. He's slow getting out of the batter's box, which prevents him from getting as many infield hits as his speed suggests he should. He still has work to do as a basestealer after leading all Triple-A players by getting caught 19 times in 2008. Though he's the Pirates' center fielder of the near future, McCutchen is slated to return to Indianapolis to start the season. He once looked like a No. 3 hitter but now profiles as a leadoff man.
McCutchen was such a prodigy that he led Polk County, Fla., high schoolers in hitting with a .507 average as an eighth-grader. As a senior, he won state player of the year and national All-America honors after hitting a mind-boggling .709 with 16 homers. The Pirates drafted him 11th overall and signed him for $1.9 million. McCutchen ranked as the No. 1 prospect in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast and low Class A South Atlantic leagues in his first two pro seasons, and reached Double-A Altoona at age 19 at the end of 2006. He struggled for the first time as a pro in 2007, getting off to a poor start while fighting cold early-season weather when he returned to the Eastern League. But he recovered and produced as he had in the past during the second half, which included a late-season promotion to Triple-A Indianapolis. McCutchen is a multi-talented individual who writes poetry and freestyle rap and is an outstanding singer and artist. He comes from athletic bloodlines, as his father was a running back at small-college power Carson Newman (Tenn.) and his mother was a standout volleyball player at Polk County Community College. McCutchen is an outstanding athlete with a quick bat, speed, instincts and intelligence. He sprays the ball from gap to gap and also has enough power to hit home runs. He has first-step quickness that helps him both in the field and on the bases, where he has succeeded in 81 percent of his pro steal attempts. he has above-average range in center field and he gets to balls that few other outfielders can reach. His arm strength is average, which makes it better than most center fielders'. After hitting .184 in April, he didn't panic, raising his batting average in each subsequent month and thriving in his first taste of Triple-A. McCutchen's power potential may already be topping out. He has good bat speed but lacks the size of most power hitters. He can be made to chase breaking balls off the plate, particularly from righthanders. The plate discipline he showed when he first came into pro ball is eroding as he moves higher in the farm system. He projects more as No. 1 or 2 hitter than someone who'll bat in the middle of a major league order, so he'll need to show more patience and draw more walks. With his speed, he could steal more bases than the 61 he has swiped in 327 pro games. He also can improve his outfield instincts, as his quickness allows him to make up for a relative lack of savvy. Despite his subpar 2007, McCutchen remains on the fast track as the Pirates' one true impact prospect. He'll be given a chance to win the starting job in center field despite being 21 and having just 17 games of experience above Double-A. If he doesn't win it, he still should make his big league debut later in the year.
A first-team All-American and Florida's high school player of the year in 2005, McCutchen hit .709 with 11 homers as a senior at Fort Meade High, located in the heart of phosphate mining country in Central Florida. He spent time singing in the choir at the church where his father is a youth minister, writing poetry and drawing when he wasn't leading the state in hitting. McCutchen also was a potential big-time football recruit as a wide receiver until suffering a serious right knee injury in his sophomore season and undergoing reconstructive surgery. He comes from a very athletic background, as his father was a running back at Division II power Carson-Newman (Tenn.) and his mother was a Florida junior college volleyball standout. The 11th overall pick in the 2005 draft, McCutchen signed for $1.9 million and immediately jumped on the fast track to the major leagues. Baseball America rated him the No. 1 prospect in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League in 2005 and in the low Class A South Atlantic League in 2006. He skipped a level and jumped to Altoona last August, and he had no trouble performing in Double-A as a 19-year-old. McCutchen already has shown the ability to hit for average with his quick wrists and simple swing, and he's also developing over-the-fence power as his body begins to fill out. He already drives the ball to all fields, and scouts project him as a .300 hitter with 20-25 homers per season in the major leagues. He especially wears out lefthanders, batting .318/.469/.549 with eight home runs in 154 at-bats against them in 2006. McCutchen has tremendous speed, which he uses to cover plenty of ground in center field. He's a potential Gold Glover. His arm is his only tool that isn't a plus, but it's average and he hits the cutoff man and throws to the right base. He also wins high marks for his attitude, maturity and passion for the game. While McCutchen has a better concept of the strike zone than most hitters his age, his plate discipline slipped in his first full season and will need some refinement. Though he has succeeded on 40 of 50 (80 percent) steal attempts in pro ball, he has the speed to be much more dangerous on the basepaths. He says his primary goal for 2007 is to improve his basestealing knowledge. Once he does, there's no reason he couldn't contend for stolen base titles once he reaches the majors. McCutchen has advanced faster than the Pirates ever could have hoped when they drafted him. He'll likely open 2007 back in Double-A, putting him in position to spend September in the majors if he continues to progress. He has leadoff skills but he has hit primarily out of the No. 3 slot in pro ball. With his power continuing to develop, Pittsburgh envisions him as a middle-of-the-order hitter.
The Pirates made McCutchen their top pick after he hit .709-11-28 as a high school senior. He has good athletic genes; his father played football at small-college power Carson-Newman (Tenn.) and his mother played volleyball in junior college in Florida. He ranked as the top prospect in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League in his debut. McCutchen has a good blend of power and speed, often drawing comparisons to Marquis Grissom. He has wiry strength and his extra-base hit total should increase once his body fills out. He has outstanding speed (he covers 60 yards in 6.35 seconds) and a quick first step, enabling him to cover plenty of ground in center field. McCutchen played at a small rural high school and is still somewhat raw in all aspects of the game. His arm is his weakest tool but still grades out as average. McCutchen is ready to log a full season at low Class A Hickory. His talent and maturity could get him to the major leagues as soon as 2008.
Minor League Top Prospects
Ranked No. 2 on this list a year ago, McCutchen entered the season with a reputation for getting antsy at the plate and chasing pitches out of the zone. Once the Pirates saw that he had improved his pitch selection and discipline, they cleared room for him by trading Nate McLouth to the Braves. Increased patience led to increased power for McCutchen, who had a three-homer game and drove the ball more consistently this year. His quick hands and deceptive strength give him potential for 20 home runs per season. McCutchen's calling card always has been his plus-plus speed, which makes him a threat on the bases and an asset in center field, and he used it better in 2009. After leading all Triple-A players by getting caught stealing 19 times last year, he went 10-for-12 at Indianapolis. He also was more aggressive at taking extra bases, and he got better reads and breaks in the outfield. Unlike many center fielders, McCutchen has a solid arm. Though he didn't join the Pirates until June, he ranked third among National League center fielders with 10 assists in the final week of the season.
McCutchen went 11th and Bruce 12th overall in the 2005 draft, and three years later they rank among the finest young outfielders in the game. Bruce's hitting and power tools grade out higher than McCutchen's, but the latter's game has more dimensions. McCutchen has plus hand speed and keen pitch recognition for a 21-year-old. His quick bat, hitting instincts and self-evaluation skills ensure he'll hit for average, and his wiry strength could translate into average power as he matures. Like a lot of young hitters, he tends to get pull-happy, making him susceptible to breaking balls away, and he slugged just .378 versus righthanders. While he's a plus runner, McCutchen doesn't get down the first-base line that quickly because he has a big swing. He stole 34 bases, yet he managed just a 64 percent success rate, as he topped all Triple-A players by getting caught 19 times. He has plus range in center field and an average throwing arm.
McCutchen also spent most of 2006 in low Class A, ranking as the South Atlantic League's top prospect, but he got a 20-game taste of the EL late last season and hit .308. The Pirates sent him back to Altoona after he had a strong spring training, but McCutchen struggled with the cold weather and level of play, hitting .189 without a homer in April. However, he fought through his struggles, batted .306 after the all-star break and hit .313 in 17 games following a promotion to Triple-A. His speed and defense never slumped. A well above-average runner, he stole 17 bases in 18 tries and was the EL's top defender in center field with plus range and a strong throwing arm. McCutchen's bat speed, hitting ability and raw power came to the fore when he stopped pressing, regained his confidence and trusted his hands at the plate. "He settled in when he wasn't over-aggressive, wasn't intimated when behind in the count and wasn't just whaling at the first straight pitch he saw when he was ahead," a National League scout said. "Early on, he lost some confidence. He looked more professional by the time he went up."
There are few 19-year-olds who make it look as easy as McCutchen, and even fewer who do as many things well. "He did everything," Lake County manager Lee May Jr. said. "He can cover a lot of ground, steal a base and hit for power. He is a complete ballplayer." Though he's just 5-foot-10 and 170 pounds and has a very quiet swing, McCutchen is able to generate bat speed and power with his lightning-quick hands. He can drive the ball to all fields and projects as a .300 hitter with above-average pop and speed. McCutchen has well above-average range and looks like a future Gold Glove winner in center field. He glides in the outfield and tracks balls with ease. His fringe-average arm is his only obvious weakness.
Because he generates lightning-quick bat speed with a compact stroke from a 5-foot-11, 170-pound frame, McCutchen draws comparisons ranging from Mets prospect Lastings Milledge to longtime big leaguer Marquis Grissom. With a powerful upper body and quick hands, McCutchen should hit for both power and average. He already has a good understanding of the strike zone and handles breaking pitches well. He projects as a leadoff hitter because of his outstanding speed and basestealing ability, but tends to be a better runner under way than out of the box, where he was timed consistently at 4.1 seconds from the right side to first base. Though McCutchen came from a small Florida high school and had little coaching prior to signing with the Pirates, his combination of tools and makeup enabled him to adapt quickly to the pro ball. He had trouble reading balls off the bat early in the season but soon became proficient at running flies down all over center field, though his arm rates a shade below-average. "He's still raw but is an excellent runner with outstanding bat speed and power potential," Pirates manager Jeff Livesey said. "He showed a lot of improvement in his outfield play and baserunning. He was the hardest worker on our club."
Top 100 Rankings
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Defensive Outfielder in the National League in 2014
- Rated Most Exciting Player in the National League in 2014
- Rated Best Strike-Zone Discipline in the National League in 2014
- Rated Most Exciting Player in the National League in 2013
- Rated Most Exciting Player in the National League in 2012
- Rated Most Exciting Player in the International League in 2009
- Rated Fastest Baserunner in the International League in 2009
- Rated Best Defensive Outfielder in the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2009
- Rated Best Athlete in the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2009
- Rated Most Exciting Player in the International League in 2008
- Rated Best Defensive Outfielder in the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2008
- Rated Best Athlete in the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2008
- Rated Most Exciting Player in the Eastern League in 2007
- Rated Best Defensive Outfielder in the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2007
- Rated Best Athlete in the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2007
- Rated Best Hitter for Average in the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2007
- Rated Best Defensive Outfielder in the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2006
- Rated Best Strike-Zone Discipline in the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2006
- Rated Best Hitter for Average in the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2006