When dealing with prospects drafted from high school, sometimes it feels like we watch them move through the minor leagues forever before we ever see a glimpse of them in a big league uniform. That’s certainly been the case with Andrew McCutchen. The Pirates picked him with the 11th pick in the 2005 draft, and ten of the players picked before him have already made their Major League debuts. McCutchen, meanwhile, has slowly moved through the Pirates’ system. Given his age and his skillset, there have been times that I’ve wondered if he was ever going to make it to Pittsburgh. Finally, when he started to hit the ball in spring training this year and in Indianapolis after that, the player that the scouts have been telling us about for so many years started to take shape.
Today, he finally made it to Pittsburgh with a single in his first at-bat, another RBI single later in the game, a walk, a stolen base, and three runs scored. Andrew McCutchen has a long way to go to live up to his potential and he’s going to struggle along the way, especially this year, but he’s finally in black and gold and it’s great to see. Honestly, I’m almost excited to watch his at-bats from this afternoon on the DVR as I am to watch the Penguins tonight.
Of course, he doesn’t score three runs without help. Nyjer Morgan rapped three hits directly behind him (How does “Morgan and McCutchen: The Dash Brothers” sound?), both LaRoches had a hit and some RBIs, Jason Jaramillo drove in four runs with two hits, and Ramon Vazquez singled four times. They needed all those runs, too, because Ross Ohlendorf was very shaky today, giving up five runs and nine hits without getting out of the fifth inning. Still, the bullpen clamped down and cleaned up after him, with Steven Jackson tossing two scoreless innings to pick up his first big league win.
We can’t get ahead of ourselves. Both Andrew McCutchen and the Pittsburgh Pirates have a long way to go. But today? It sure was a great first step.