PHILADELPHIA - Andrew McCutchen held his 1-year-old son Steel on his lap Tuesday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park, where Phillies general manager Matt Klentak and manager Gabe Kapler introduced him as the newest addition to a team with 90-win expectations.Father and son both wore Phillies jerseys with the number 22
PHILADELPHIA - Andrew McCutchen held his 1-year-old son Steel on his lap Tuesday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park, where Phillies general manager Matt Klentak and manager Gabe Kapler introduced him as the newest addition to a team with 90-win expectations.
Father and son both wore Phillies jerseys with the number 22 on the back. Steel banged the table in front of him while his father spoke. The proud father beamed.
"Something you always dream of," McCutchen said. "As a guy in the game you grow up and you always dream of sitting up here or even just be in the clubhouse and on the field and have your son with you. I was blessed enough to have a kid and on top of that I have a son and I'm just excited to just hold him and be up here. I'm overly excited and happy to be here and to be able to represent this city and this franchise."
Steel's first baseball memories of his father will be of him in a Phillies uniform. The Phillies last week signed the veteran outfielder to a three-year, $50 million contract with a $15 million club option for 2022. McCutchen will play left or right field. Kapler said he sees him hitting anywhere from leadoff to fifth. The possibility remains that McCutchen will share the outfield next season with Bryce Harper or play behind third baseman Manny Machado, but the possibility also exists that McCutchen and shortstop Jean Segura are the team's two biggest offensive additions this offseason.
McCutchen sounded optimistic either way.
"I'm looking forward to what the future holds for us," McCutchen said. "I saw this team from afar, playing against them as well. I saw what they were able to do this past season. They fell a little short, but something I do realize is that it's there. I'm happy to be here and to just be a part of it and to help this team push forward to winning a championship, and that's what it's all about."
The Phillies believe McCutchen, 32, will replicate the success he has enjoyed the past few seasons. McCutchen, who has had 648 or more plate appearances in each of the past nine seasons, is not the same player that won the 2013 National League Most Valuable Player Award with the Pirates, but he has remained a productive hitter.
He batted a combined .255 with 20 home runs, 65 RBIs and a .792 OPS last season with the Giants and Yankees. He posted an .892 OPS in 114 plate appearances with the Yankees. McCutchen recorded a 123 wRC+ in 2017 and a 120 wRC+ in '18. Rhys Hoskins was the only Phillies player last season (minimum 150 plate appearances) with a 110 wRC+ or better.
McCutchen essentially replaces Carlos Santana's bat. McCutchen was 12th among qualified hitters in walk rate last season (13.9 percent). His chase rate (15.9 percent) ranked third lowest out of 226 batters (minimum 750 pitches seen out of the zone), according to Statcast™. His hard-hit rate has remained consistent the past three seasons: 42.1 percent in 2016, 38.3 percent in '17 and 41.8 percent in '18. His wOBA was .329 in '16, .360 in '17 and .347 in '18.
The Phillies and McCutchen believe playing half his games in cozy Citizens Bank Park will give him a nice boost.
"I haven't played a full season in a hitter's park," he said.
McCutchen remains a pretty good runner. Among right fielders last season, only Travis Jankowski and Avisail Garcia were faster. His sprint speed rankings have remained consistent too, according to Statcast™. He was in the 87th percentile in 2015, 95th percentile in 2016, 90th percentile in 2017 and 88th percentile in 2018.
"I always say if it ain't broke don't fix it, and that's what I'm going to continue to do," McCutchen said. "I'm going to train the way I've always trained, and I think with the longevity I've had in my career I'm going to continue doing that. I trust myself and what I do to prepare for the season. I always prepare to play 162-plus games. That's not going to change, and that's what I'm doing now to prepare."
Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.