I LOVE Baseball Prospectus – An Updated Scouting Report on Andrew McCutchen

Uh, yea so this is beyond sweet.

Baseball Prospectus provides us with some detailed scout-speak on Andrew McCutchen:

Left-handed pitchers have a tough task against McCutchen, who isn’t fooled by anything but the best off-speed pitches. He looks for pitches out over the plate, so it is possible to sneak a fastball by him on the inside, but it would require a plus fastball and is a risky approach. The best way for LHPs to attack McCutchen is with soft stuff down and away; if the pitches are in the strike zone, he will still try to pull them through the left side. He barrels the ball up well even while trying to pull pitches on the outer half, but if they are down in the strike zone, the damage is typically limited to singles. Shifting three infielders to the left side can help combat the amount of balls that make it through the infield.

Right-handed pitchers can use more of the entire strike zone, but staying low and away is still the key. Because of his quick hands, he is susceptible to good off-speed pitches and good breaking pitches, especially on the outer half. He crushes fastballs, however, especially once he gets ahead in the count. Even when a pitcher falls behind, he still must attack with breaking pitches, despite the risk of walking him.

Regardless of handedness, the key to McCutchen is to stay low and away and make him pull pitches he doesn’t want to pull. As evidenced by Chart A below, McCutchen’s power comes when he gets his hands extended on pitches up in the zone. He does a better job than most of hitting those balls hard enough to get them through the infield, but at least that keeps the ball in the park

I went on to find similar reports on Joey Votto, Yasiel Puig, Adrian Gonzalez, Brandon Phillips, and other key offensive players who made the postseason. I know what I’m doing tonight.