High-Flying Andrew McCutchen Explodes Against the World Champions

Sergey ZikovSenior Analyst IMarch 28, 2009

BRADENTON, FL - MARCH 8: Andrew McCutchen #76 of the Pittsburgh Pirates stands ready at bat during a Spring Training game against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays on March 8, 2007 at McKechnie Field in Bradenton, Florida. Pittsburgh won the game 5-2. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

If there weren't enough reasons already for the Pirates to take outfielder Andrew McCutchen north when spring training breaks, he just added another to that growing list.

McCutchen keyed a 10-4 victory over the defending world champion Philadelphia Phillies in Bradenton Saturday afternoon, going 5-for-5 on the day. He drove in two runs, scored three times, launched a home run, and doubled three times. 

Facing Phillies starter Jamie Moyer (who was not pitching poorly: 5.2 IP, 7 K) for most of the afternoon, McCutchen's second homer of the spring began a flurry of Pirates' scoring.

McCutchen also leads the Pirates in hits, at bats and doubles. With the five hit performance, he raised his spring batting average over the .300 plateau.

Management only has one problem with putting McCutchen on the starting roster, and it may keep him from attending Opening Day in St. Louis.

His current major league contract is for five years, and General Manager Neil Huntington would like for him to start in Triple-A, then call him up in a month. That way, this season will not count toward that five years.

But McCutchen has clearly proved his value. His spring numbers don't lie. He is clearly the better player than Nyjer Morgan, who is at best a pinch runner in the major leagues. 

Keeping him on the major league roster would obviously have its benefits, too.

It would allow super-'spect Jose Tabata to start the season in Indianapolis instead of Altoona. It would give the Pirates a legitimate third outfielder, to join All-Star Nate McLouth and Craig Monroe, who has been quickly winning himself a roster spot.

Personally, I'd like to see 'Cutch in Pittsburgh. But it wouldn't be the end of the world if he started in Indianapolis. Just having him playing at PNC Park by May, please?