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Andrew McCutchen named player of the month

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Pittsburgh Pirates Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Andrew McCutchen has been named NL Player of the Month for June.

After two months of misery, leading to doubts about whether his skills had suddenly deserted him, McCutchen caught fire in June. He finished with one of the best months of his entire career, with a 411/505/689 line, six HRs, 23 RBIs in 26 games, and 17 walks versus just 12 strikeouts. After spending much of May flirting with the Mendoza Line and finishing it with a 223/301/404 line, McCutchen now has his overall numbers up to 282/372/495. That’s only two points of OPS below his career line and is 100 points above his OPS for the 2016 season. And it’s perhaps just another couple of hot weeks from the MVP level numbers he put up in 2012-14. He’s even reclaimed the third spot in the order and, apparently on a permanent basis, his old ground in center field, although I suppose you can debate whether that’s a good thing.

McCutchen’s sudden turnaround has obviously changed the dynamic in a lot of areas. For one, his $14.75M option for 2018 has gone from a no-brainer “no” to a no-brainer “yes” for the Pirates. Of course, that’s assuming he isn’t elsewhere by the trade deadline. If he is, the price is going to be dramatically higher for an acquiring team than it would have been a month ago. In that sense, his resurgence couldn’t have been better timed, not just because it increases the potential take should the Pirates trade him, but because it creates the possibility that, maybe, they shouldn’t do so at all.