Andrew McCutchen is really good. Groundbreaking stuff, I know. McCutchen gets a ton of a press; he did win the MVP last year, after all. Despite that, it feels like we don’t talk about the things that make him so, so good enough.
So far this season, among qualified batters, six batters have walked more than they’ve struck out. Those batters are: Victor Martinez, Jose Bautista, Coco Crisp, McCutchen, Kurt Suzuki, and Carlos Ruiz. Martinez has accomplished this feat by only striking out 6.6% of the time; Suzuki has taken that same path, striking out 8.1% of his plate appearances. Bautista has done so by slashing his strikeout rate, while also upping his walk rate a little closer to his unbelievable 2011 campaign. Crisp and Ruiz have been able to keep the scale in their favors by walking at a career high clip. As for McCutchen? He’s maintained his contact rate, while chasing even fewer pitches out of the zone. Only seven qualified batters have chased a fewer percentage of pitches out of the strike zone.
In 2012, McCutchen slashed .327/.400/.553, good for a 158 wRC+; 2013, .317/.404/.508, 155 wRC+. This year, his line is: .321/.435/.550, 177 wRC+. McCutchen’s hitting for the same amount of power he did in 2012 (.229 ISO versus .226), while besting his career high walk rate by more than 3%. Andrew McCutchen is an incredible player, and he’s currently maxing out every portion of his offensive profile. It’s a thing of beauty.
Today’s pitching matchups are a little more attackable than yesterday’s. There are a few guys that haven’t thrown many major league innings (Christian Bergman, David Buchanan, T.J. House) and one who has probably thrown too many (Randy Wolf). I’m okay stacking lineups against any of them, especially Wolf.
Stacking against Shelby Miller burned me last weekend, but I won’t attempt to talk you out of stacking against him today, although the Nationals’ lineup doesn’t feature much from the left side. Joe Saunders is seemingly always an option to stack against, but the Mariners’ lineup isn’t exactly great versus left handed pitching. And even though the Rangers are depleted, picking against Erasmo Ramirez isn’t a bad option.
Perhaps my favorite matchup of the day, though, is the Brewers’ lineup versus Tony Cingrani. In five starts since May 18, Cingrani has allowed 9 home runs in 27.1 innings. In those five starts, Cingrani has a 6.26 ERA and 7.00 FIP; and he’s walking 11.1% of the batters he’s facing. The Brewers’ lineup contains plenty of right handed pop. Use it liberally. Damn it, Mat Latos had to go and ruin everything by returning today.
I’ve had a rough go of it lately. I’ve felt good about all of my picks; just haven’t quite worked out. Hopefully my luck turns around soon. Ah, the perils of daily play.
The Daily Five
Zack Wheeler – $16,226
Wheeler’s command can seemingly go at any moment, and that’s terrifying, but his strikeout potential still makes him pretty interesting. The Padres’ offense has struck out in roughly 23% of their plate appearances so far, while posting a wOBA of .276.
Marte has hit lefties well in his career. McCutchen has absolutely demolished them. And Polanco’s showed the ability to hit left handed pitching throughout his time in the minors.
Lonnie Chisenhall – $6,422
Chisenhall’s been unreal this season. He has the platoon advantage today, and he’s facing a pitcher who has had some trouble keeping the ball in the yard.
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