Cutch has basically had a bad month and is off to an extremely disappointing start to the season. Do I expect this to continue? Of course not, everyone goes through slumps and sometimes they can last a month or more. It could just be bad luck since Andrew's BABIP is at .242 this April compared with .313 last year and .327 in 09 but I think it may be other things on top of his bad luck or maybe that the low BABIP may be a little less luck driven thus far.
First of all, just based on watching McCutchen's at bats thus far, something just seems off to me. Not so much his swing mechanics but with his approach at the plate. He seems to be taking a more passive approach this season so far. I've noticed Andrew taking a lot more called strikes, or at least it seems that way to me, which gets him in an early hole and leads to Andrew sometimes chasing bad pitches or not getting to swing at his pitch.
Like I said, Andrew's BABIP thus far sits at .242 which is well below his career average. But there are some things other than just dumb luck that may be influencing this. First Andrew's walk rate is up to 14% so far this year from 10.7% last year. His strike out rate is also up this year to 23.5% from 15.6%. Obviously more walks are good and mre strikeouts are bad but the increased rate in both are resulting in less balls in play.
Taking a closer look there are other things trending differently thus far. Andrew's LD% is down slightly to 16.9% from 18.8%. His groundball percent is down almost 10 points: 33.8% this year from 43.4% last year which isn't helping him use his speed as an asset and ground balls are what affects BABIP the most. The biggest thing though is McCutchen's fly balls percentages is up to 49.2% from 37.8% and his infield fly rate to 18.8% from 10.4% last year again not allowing Andrew use his speed as an asset.
I don't know if McCutchen has changed his approach this year (whether it's his doing or a new team philosophy because it seems like Tabata is also being very passive) or is just scuffling right now but this at least explains some of his struggles thus far and puts into context that it may not be all BABIP bad luck. Thoughts?
*All these stats were based on information before today's game was played