Friday, December 4, 2020

Mathing, a pretend season

In addition to keeping up with the hobby that is the baseball card community, I also like to stay up to date with nostalgia action figures.  

I grew up playing with lots of action figures from the 1980s.  Toys like Masters of the Universe, Thundercats, Voltron, Transformers, and M.A.S.K. were always being played with, as I was an only child until I was almost 7 years old.  

I had to have an active imagination and kept myself busy playing with these toys alone.  Nowadays (especially in a COVID-19 2020 year) I keep my imagination active by looking at baseball stats and saying what if?

Everyday I have a few hours to myself before Ms. CollectingCutch comes home from work and I will scribble down statistics as if I'm Jonah Hill's character from Moneyball.

It keeps me busy and entertained.

With all the rumors of Nolan Arenado, Blake Snell, Francisco Lindor, and Kris Bryant possibly being traded I looked at some of their stats for the 2020 season.  For the most part, they aren't kind as all the position players I listed above had "below average" seasons compared to their career history.  

It was a 60 game sprint.

A lot can happen in only 60 games.  A lot more can happen in roughly 160 games.  

As I was doing this I also saw a card of Cutch in a Yankees jersey sitting in a pile of cards that I am getting ready to scan.  

My initial plan was to scan cards of Neil Walker and Andrew McCutchen from the same years as they have played most of their careers together from the minor leagues to the most recent COVID shortened season.  I will still do that post in the future, but I am going to use my imagination and look at Cutch's 25 regular season games with the New York Yankees and extrapulate that over 155 games (Cutch's average number of games played per season from 2010, his first full season to 2018, the season he spent 25 games as a member of the Yankees).

So I took Cutch's stats of 25 games with the following categories:
.253/.421/.471 triple slash line
.892 OPS
145 OPS+
22 Base on Balls
41 Total Bases
5 HR
18 Runs

Then I divided those numbers by 25 games and multiplied it by 155 games to get what a full season of consistent levels would have looked like for a 31 year old Andrew McCutchen playing his home games in Yankee Stadium for the 2018 season.  
This would make the stats seem real, three dimensional if you will.
The slash line would have stayed the same resulting in an .892 OPS. That would have put him in 7th place among all American League qualifiers. He would have been behind only the names of Trout, Betts, Martinez, Ramirez, Bregman, and Judge.  It should be worth noting that 5 of those 6 names finished in the top 5 for AL MVP in the 2018 season.

A 145 OPS+ which takes the more familar Onbase Plus Slugging and factors it for ballparks and ignores positions played would put Cutch in 6th place across AL qualifiers, behind the same 5 names.  

His 22 walks in 25 games is an incredible feat and showed his plate patience for facing many pitchers in the American League he had not seen before.  Put that into a 155 game average with the same consistent results and it would have been 1st in the American League (and 14 above Mike Trout who did finish first) with 136.

5 Home Runs in 25 Games from the leadoff spot?  Yeah, that's a pretty good quality to have and over the course of a 155 average, that would have given Cutch 31 round trippers for the 2018 season, good enough for 10th place in the American League.

Cutch was the Yankees leadoff hitter in the 25 games he played for the Bronx Bombers and scored 18 times in those 25 games.  Extend that out over 155 games and you're looking at 112 Runs Scored, which would have put him in 3rd place in the American League for the 2018 season.

His 41 Total Bases in 25 games was a really good pace (especially for fantasy baseball owners) but that would have only finished him 3rd among his Yankees teammates (Stanton and Andujar) and wouldn't have placed him in the top 10 among American League qualifiers.

Overall, Cutch performed in his 25 games in Yankees pinstripes the same way he has played his entire career. Quietly and consistent at star levels.  Nothing full of flair or drama, just fun and high quality.

If you look at his Wins Above Replacement for his 25 games with the Yankees he had 0.9WAR.  If he had played his 155 games in New York, you're looking at a player with a 5.58 WAR.  That would have put his Offensive WAR in the top 10 among the American League. 

A season with a 5.6WAR, 112 Runs, 31HR, 145 OPS+, .892OPS, and top 10 in multiple offensive categories could have gotten him some MVP votes and maybe even another All-Star appearance. 

But we will never know and that's what makes imagination and pretending fun.   


  1. You're much more productive during your Covid downtime. Lately I've been just trying to heal my back and catch up on The Walking Dead.

  2. I love when you show Cutch Yankee cards!

    I don't keep up with toys from my childhood and sadly I didn't keep many (was big on GI Joes, WWF, Ghostbusters, Ninja Turtles, Micro Machines to name a few), but I do follow that Twitter account that shows the GI Joes from the 80s. I always enjoy seeing those.