A by-the-numbers look at McCutchen's return

January 19th, 2023

This story was excerpted from Justice delos Santos’ Pirates Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

No, you weren’t dreaming. Andrew McCutchen is coming home.

McCutchen, a five-time All-Star, four-time Silver Slugger, a Gold Glover, the 2013 National League MVP and arguably the best Pirate of the millennium, is returning to Pittsburgh on a one-year, $5 million deal, a source told MLB.com.

The 36-year-old has rocked several uniforms over the last five seasons, spending time with the Giants, Yankees, Phillies and, most recently, Brewers. Now, he’ll have an opportunity to don the black and yellow once again.

Here are five numbers that define McCutchen:

14: He currently ranks 14th on the Pirates all-time WAR leaderboard (according to Baseball-Reference) with 40.4. McCutchen should easily eclipse Sam Leever, who has 40.5 bWAR, and will have a chance at matching Bob Friend’s 42.3 bWAR.

5: The veteran outfielder returns to Pittsburgh with an opportunity to reach five milestones, currently sitting on 287 home runs, 1,948 hits, 392 doubles, 983 walks and 1,895 games played. In 2022, McCutchen totaled 122 hits, 17 home runs, 25 doubles and 57 walks. Should he play a full, healthy season, he should be able to reach 300 home runs, 400 doubles, 1000 walks, 2,000 hits and 2,000 games played by the end of '23.

134: As mentioned, McCutchen has so far played 1,895 games, 1,346 of which have come with the Pirates. If he can play 134 games -- the number of appearances he had last season -- he will pass Fred Clarke’s 1,479 games played as a Pirate and move into the franchise’s top 10 in that category.

90: Even in his mid-30s, McCutchen remains one of baseball’s fastest players. In 2022, he ranked in the 90th percentile of Sprint Speed with an average of 28.9 feet per second. Since the introduction of Statcast in '15, McCutchen has ranked at least in the 87th percentile of Sprint Speed in every full season (excludes '20).

46.0: In his prime, McCutchen was far and away the best outfielder in the NL. He would’ve been the best outfielder during his prime, period, if not for some guy named Mike Trout. From 2009-17, McCutchen accumulated 46.0 fWAR, leading all NL outfielders and ranking only second to Trout (53.5) among all outfielders during this span.