Monday, September 7, 2020

Not hitting their weight, name cameos

I am a Pirates fan and Andrew McCutchen is the best player I have ever seen play for the Pirates in my time of getting back into this hobby in 2009.  

Besides Cutch there have been a few other position players that Pirates fans have gotten excited about that were believed to be building blocks for the next Pirates contender after Cutch left.
Of the top 3 names to be listed as top prospects (Josh Bell, Gregory Polanco, and Bryan Reynolds) none are hitting their weight this season.

That's a phrase used when a player is slumping, but this year the season stats don't lie.

I thought I would show off some cards with an Andrew McCutchen name cameo on the back and discuss their current batting averages/weight.

(*Batting averages are for 2020 season as of end of games on September 6, 2020)
Gregory Polanco
Card: 2018 Topps
Cameo Trivia: Polanco had three 4 for 4 performances in a season joining only Jeff King and Andrew McCutchen to do so simce 1988.
Listed weight on card: 230
Listed weight on 235
Current Batting Average* .150
Gregory joined the Pirates in 2014 and hit the ground running becoming the franchise's record setter for most consecutive games to collect a hit in their Pirates debut. Polanco's presence and the Bucs becoming a resurgent team for the playoffs made him a trendy player to collect in the hobby.  He even appeared as the cover athlete for 2014 Bowman.  Polanco joined Andrew McCutchen and Starling Marte in the outfield and many top writers would list the Pirates and Marlins (Stanton, Yelich, Ozuna) as having the best outfields in baseball.  Polanco never met the huge expectations placed on him as being a top 10 prospect in baseball for 2 years prior to his debut and has yet to even become an All-Star for a single season.  He is currently signed with the Pirates through the 2023 season if his two option years are picked up on the team friendly $35 million extension he signed in 2016.  He likely won't see the full extension through with the Pirates as his injury history and current struggles will leave the current front office (who have no emotional ties to Polanco) to keep him around. 

Josh Bell
Card: 2020 Donruss yellow parallel
Card Trivia: Bell joined Andrew McCutchen as the only Pirates to have three homers in a game at PNC Park, seperated by almost a decade between the feats.
Listed weight on card: 235
Listed weight on 250
Current Batting Average* .197

Josh Bell was the most prized high school draft pick in the 2011 MLB Amateur Draft, but his letter of intention and signing bonus demands scared many teams away.  The Pirates who had drafted Gerrit Cole with the 1st Overall Pick, used their 2nd Round pick and took a risk to draft Bell (that same year they drafted Tyler Glasnow and Trea Turner, talk about a great draft).  After having some injuries in the minors and switching positions from outfield to first base (due to the previously mentioned outfield group of Polanco, Marte, Cutch), Josh Bell made his debut in 2016 and hit a pinch hit Grand Slam in his second at bat.  This resulted in one of the best Cutch Cameo cards of all time.  (Look at his unphased face to the right of Josh).
Josh spent most of the 2016 in the minors and had his rookie status in tact heading into 2017.  He became the regular First Baseman in 2017 and set a NL record for HRs by a switch hitting rookie (beating Chipper Jones record).  He took a step back in 2018, but absolutely mashed his way into the national audiences in the first half of 2019.  He was a contestant for the 2019 HR Derby and a first time All-Star last year.  He is under team control, pending an extension, through 2022.

Bryan Reynolds
Card: 2020 Finest The Man insert
Card Trivia: Reynolds was acquired in the Andrew McCutchen 2018 trade that sent Cutch to San Francisco
Listed weight on card: 205
Listed weight on 205
Current Batting Average* .192
Bryan Reynolds is the most recent position player that fans became excited for.  After trading away the face of the franchise, Andrew McCutchen, fans were hoping to see Reynolds became the next great Pirates outfielder.  He had a very impressive rookie campaign, finishing in the top 10 for batting average and 2nd among NL rookies in hits in 2019.  He possesses a ceiling of a 5 tool skill set, but will not be a major stolen base threat.  His arm strength in the outfield is probably better than Cutch in his prime, but his range is lower. He likely won't hit 30HR in a season, but looks to be a candidate for many 20+ HR in a season. With 5 more years of control, I think he will be the longest tenured player of the three discussed today.


  1. There's plenty of Tigers who aren't hitting their weight this year, although, Miguel Cabrera is up over .250 now, in a 13 game hitting streak.

    Also, the dreaded "Mendoza Line" is still a problem with quite a few guys in Motown.

    Good Job. 👍

  2. The Cubs lineup is pretty much camped out at the Mendoza Line this year. It's a weird season.

  3. The Yanks fall into this category too. The amount of guys they've gotten hitting .200...or staggering.

  4. Can't think of one Oakland Athletic that I am 100% sure is hitting their weight. It's kinda sad. That being said... I'm pretty sure Liam Hendriks has an ERA below his weight... which is kind of impressive.

    1. Hendricks has been ridiculous this year. Ibwas surprised to see how bad years the core position players on Oakland were having in terms of batting average (Olson, Laureano, Chapman, Davis, Semien). Besides Hendricks being really good pitching, how insane has Jake Diekman been? The guy is just like, "nope youre not going home"

  5. When I started following baseball, the Pirates were good, I even watched them win a World Series. It's sad to see what they've become for so many years. It's also sad to see so many teams struggling in the hitting department. I'm not sure if the quality of pitching (and the sheer variety of pitching) is the main reason that teams can't hit like they once could or if it's the constant swing-for-the-fences mentality. I just know that I miss base hits and stolen bases and stuff like that.

    1. The Pirates have had very few good stretches of time in my life. Early 90s and mid 2010s is basically it. I think it's the specialized bullpens and shifts that neutralize offenses now.