Originally written on Baseball Professor  |  Last updated 3/29/13
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Now that’s what I’m talking about Andrew McCutchen! In his age-25 season ‘Cutch finally arrived to fantasy stardom by belting 31 HR and raising his batting average to a robust .327. Now that his stock has skyrocketed into the top 10, the question is—is he worth it?Well, by our calculations, in order for him to be worth your top 10 pick he would have to put up similar counting stats as last year, but he can afford a dip in his batting average. This is good news because he most definitely will not hit .320 again.Let’s start off with a table:Just by looking at these numbers you could conclude that his line from April through July was an aberration and his post-July numbers were much more on par with his 2011 stat line. Here’s why his first four months are an indication that McCutchen’s breakout is for real.A lot of his first round value is tied into whether his 30-homer power is for real and I believe it is. In 2010 McCutchen hit 16 HR, but none of them went to the opposite field and in 2011 he hit 23 HR with six (26%) going to the opposite field. Finally, that rate peaked last year when 10 of his 31 HR (31%) went opposite field. The increase in opposite field homers shows that McCutchen is maturing physically and seeing as he’s only 26 this year, he theoretically hasn’t even reached his power peak. Even with a bit of regression in 2013 he should be able to stay near the 30-HR mark for the near future and if he can accomplish that he’s almost a shoo-in for top-10 value given his contributions in the other four categories.At a GlanceStrengths: R, HR, RBI, SB, OBP, BB%, K%Neutral: BA, SLG, OPSWeaknesses: NonePlayer ComparisonsBest-case scenario: Matt Kemp (LAD)Likely scenario: Carlos Gonzalez (COL), Justin Upton (ARI), Jayson Heyward (ATL)Worst-case scenario: Alex Rios (CHW)Andrew McCutchen 2013 Fantasy ProjectionThe worst news coming out of 2012 is that you will now have to pay top dollar for McCutchen and that’s always something we tell people to stay away from. However, with McCutchen you can feel comfortable that he will be a solid-to-elite contributor in all five fantasy categories, which is rare in fantasy.McCutchen really hits the ball hard as he’s topped a 20% line drive rate each of the last two years, but surprisingly he hits very few fly balls. This is good news for his batting average stabilizing in the .280-.300 range, but it does strike some doubt in his ability to maintain  a 30-HR pace consistently in the next couple of years.He has always been a fast player, but with only one 30-steal season it’s hard to imagine that he will reach that rare 30/30 mark although he has reached both sides in separate seasons now. McCutchen definitely has top player potential, but he’s not coming at a discount anymore. He may be a bit overvalued because he’s not a repeat elite fantasy player yet, but you need to have some faith.
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