McCutchen snub should fuel Pirates down the stretch


Andrew McCutchen's All-Star snub has teammates rallying. (Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

I don’t think I need to elaborate very much on one of the biggest stories to come out of the release of the NL All-Star voting yesterday — Pittsburgh’s Andrew McCutchen got snubbed, hardcore. New York’s Carlos Beltran, with worse numbers, was put on the roster — reportedly so NL manager Bruce Bochy can try to convince him to waive his no-trade clause and come to the Giants. Jay Bruce was another player added to the roster before McCutchen that was arguably less deserving. Bruce puts up better power numbers, but McCutchen puts up better all-around numbers. And with 12 home runs so far this year, it’s not like he’s lacking in that category. And can anyone please tell me who the hell Michael Morse is and how he managed to make the Final Vote thing over ‘Cutch?

As the saying goes, however, what doesn’t kill you will only make you stronger, and I think that’s going to be the case with the Pirates. Players in the clubhouse yesterday were outraged over what happened.

Neil Walker tweeted, “… Cutch got screwed, he’ll be in 11 more or so of them though.”

Paul Maholm tweeted, “… who else thinks cutch got jacked? Definately a Allstar.”

Jeff Karstens tweeted, “… still pissed our man McCutchen didn’t make the all-star team! Hope the fans show up with signs for him!”

And that wasn’t all of it. Even Joel Hanrahan, the team’s lone representative, took a chance to try and get a push for McCutchen to be in the game. A majority of the clubhouse thought that the team was well deserving of a few selections into the game. Aside from McCutchen, solid cases can be made for Kevin Correia, who is tied for the NL lead with 11 wins, Neil Walker, who has put up comparable numbers to Rickie Weeks, and even Karstens, who currently has an ERA lower than CC Sabathia, Tim Lincecum and Cliff Lee.

You can blame it on the politics of baseball. The more popular teams get more players, and the more popular players always win out. Walker acknowledged that in an interview with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Reviews Dejan Kovacevik, saying “… there are a lot of politics in this. If you’re the Yankees or Red Sox or those teams, you’re always going to have a better chance.” You can also blame it on two decades of losing. For so many years the Pirates have put the one obligatory player on the All-Star roster and, quite honestly, it was all they deserved. Some years, I’m not even sure the obligatory player they placed deserved to be there. But this year is different, the fans know it, and most importantly the players know it. Expect to see them unify and show just how talented this baseball team really is.

Heading into the All-Star break, the team plays home series against the bottom feeders of the division – Houston and Chicago – and they play another series on the road against Houston right after the break. Following that is back-to-back series at home against Cincinnati and St. Louis. It is not all that unrealistic to think that this team could be playing for the division lead against the Reds and the Cardinals towards the end of July. How amazing would that be for this team and for the city of Pittsburgh, playing for first place at home heading into the dog days of August baseball? It’d be quite an accomplishment, and will show us what this team really has in the tank. If GM Neal Huntington goes out and makes a move before those two seriesto rejuvenate the team (hint-hint for what I’ll be posting about soon), we’ll be seeing the Pirates making a playoff push down the summer stretch for the first time in quite a while.

Andrew McCutchen was quoted Sunday as saying, “Just because you don’t make an All-Star team doesn’t mean that you’re not an All-Star.” Expect him and the rest of the Pirates to show just how much meaning there can be behind that statement in the coming weeks.

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  1. The fact that Jeter made it is because of the market he plays in. If Cutch played for the Yankees, he would have made the all-star team.

    The fact that the Yankees and Red Sox are the entire AL All-Star lineup makes me sick.

  2. I’d like to take this argument a little further. Most baseball statisticians use WAR (wins above replacement) to rate players true abilities both offensively and defensively. I’m sure you’ve heard of it. As of today, Cutch is THIRD out of all position players in baseball with a WAR of 4.9, behind only Jose Bautista and Jose Reyes. So if the stat holds true, Cutch is theoretically the third best position player in baseball.

    And I have no arguement about Kemp, Holliday, Pence, or Upton; all three deserve the selection. But Carlos Beltran, whom was not voted in but rather was selected by the manager, is where I see the biggest issue. Sure, Cutch’s and Beltran’s major stats are similar, but their entire stat lines tell a different story.15 stolen bases for Cutch to 3 for Beltran. A .890 OPS compared to .860. An 8.3 defensive rating compared to 1.0. And McCutchen plays a much tougher position in center field to boot! Moreover, McCutchen is one of the hottest players in the game right now! Since June 1st, he’s batting .409 and has an OPS well over 1.000.

    Which brings me to my other gripe, which is the selection process for the teams. It’s too much politics, too much what you’ve done in the past and not what you’re doing right now, and way too much who you play for. I challenge anyone out there to try and convince me that Derek Jeter deserved a spot on the AL al-lstar team. The politics behind the selection process are absurd, in my opinion. It’s about pleasing players, pleasing other GM’s, or as has been reported in the case of Beltran, selecting a player so you can provoke him to wave his no-trade clause and come to the Giants. There’s too much non baseball thought put into the process… Not that I can do anything about it, just a personal gripe about the matter.

  3. Well … Cutch is a great player … but he didn’t deserve to make the team over anyone else on this roster. Let’s take a look at who he had to beat.

    Lance Berkman, Ryan Braun, and Matt Kemp are all putting up better numbers than Cutch. All three deserve to be starting.

    Beltran, Bruce, Holliday, Pence, and Upton all have made it as well as outfielders.

    You’re right on Bruce and Beltran being close to Andrew’s numbers, if not less (not much!) but they have been crucial to their teams (not saying Cutch hasn’t) and the players’ voted them in. It means they have meant more to their teams or the players feel they are just better than Cutch.

    As far as someone telling you who Michael Morse is: He’s the real one who got snubbed here, not Andrew McCutchen.

    In 309 plate appearances, Cutch has 12 HRs and 45 RBIs. He also supports a nice .294 AVG, .393 OBP, .498 SLG.

    In only 251 plate appearances (58 less), Morse has 15 HRs (3 more), 46 RBIs (1 more). He supports a nice .299 AVG, .349 OBP, and a nice .538 SLG.

    In 58 less plate appearances his numbers are already better. I think he was snubbed more and has carried a less talented team like the Nationals to a similar record like the Pirates have.

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