Sunday, February 24, 2013

Andrew McCutchen, Pirates to steal more bases in 2013?

Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen is one of baseball's elite players and sure to be an early first-round pick in fantasy baseball drafts this year.

Over the past three seasons, however, his base-stealing production has continued to decline: 33 steals (2010), 23 (2011) and 20 (2012).

That said, that trend could very well be reversed in 2013 as McCutchen and the Pirates make a more concerted effort to swipe more bases.  And McCutchen is studying some successful base-stealers that don't have his natural gifts to help make that happen.

"I know that with my speed I should be able to get to the next base without a problem," McCutchen said, per Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "I like to watch the guys who need a little more than just speed to get to the base. You can really see their mechanics and their form."

"His attitude toward us is, 'I want you to go,'" [teammate Alex] Presley said (of manager Clint Hurdle). "'I want you to be aggressive. If you get thrown out, you get thrown out.'"

Although McCutchen stole a career-low 20 bases last year, he set career highs across the board in other categories: .327 batting average, 31 home runs, 107 runs and 96 runs batted in.

Along with Milwaukee's Ryan Braun and Angels rookie Mike Trout, McCutchen was one of three 30-20 players last season.

Going into the 2013 season, McCutchen is currently the fifth-ranked player on my overall big board.

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