Andrew McCutchen as a No. 3 hitter?
Andrew McCutchen quickly earned the reputation as an offensive dynamo in his rookie season, batting .286/.365/.471 with 12 home runs, nine triples, 26 doubles, 54 RBI, 74 runs scored and 22 stolen bases in 443 at-bats, all of them out of the leadoff spot. But after the acquisition of Akinori Iwamura from the Rays last month, manager John Russell has at least begun toconsider the 23-year-old McCutchen as his No. 3 hitter:
“I’ve thought about it, especially if Aki does a nice job. We’ll see how it goes,” Russell said. “But Cutch has been in the majors for three months, and he did awfully well for us at the top. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. All around baseball, you hear teams talk about how they want a leadoff hitter. Well, we’ve got some good options.”With his .354 career on-base percentage and 10.1% career walk rate, Iwamura is another solid on-base option for Russell, but don’t expect this to happen anytime soon. Even with Hanley Ramirez, the transition from leadoff hitter to full-time No. 3 hitter took three seasons. Especially with a run-starved team like the Pirates, he’s best utilized at the top.