Few things go together better than peanut butter and jelly. That is unless its Andrew McCutchen in a Pittsburgh Pirates uniform.
The 37-year-old, who returned to his Pittsburgh roots for the 2023 season, announced via social media that he’ll be returning for the 2024 season.
But it’s the way he went about it that has everyone talking, not only did “Cutch” make Pirates fans happy, he also gave them a chuckle. In his announcement McCutchen referenced “The Wolf of Wall Street” movie in which Leonardo DiCaprio made the announcement to his employees that he would indeed not be stepping down from his current position. It was met by a chorus of claps and excitement.
Pirated fans took to social media to retweet the announcement with captions that read like this.
@TalkinBaseball_ said this … “THIS is how you announce you re-signed.” @specialandrare tweeted this … “Probably the best player tweet I’ve ever seen.”
Cutch Returns For 15th Season
It’s safe to say the Pirates faithful are happy to have one of the franchise’s icons back in the fold for at least one more go. The deal is one-year, $5 million.
Late Season’s Injury Isn’t Stopping Cutch
After playing in 112 games for the Pirates this season, McCutchen suffered a partially torn Achilles tendon in September. Initially the belief was he was fine, but unfortunately that wasn’t the case.
That didn’t stop Cutch who finished the 2023 season with a slash line of .256/.378/.397 (112 OPS+) with 12 home runs, 43 RBI, and 11 stolen bases in (14 attempts), from still wanting to continue his career.
He also surpassed the 2,000-hit milestone.
Over the summer and prior to the injury he reiterated that he wanted to continue to play beyond this season, but only in Pittsburgh.
“I’m not done,” McCutchen told reporters over the summer. “Tom Brady said he would stop playing when he stunk. I don’t want to put it in the same context, but when my body tells me I’ve had enough. My body is still saying, Nah, you’re good. You’re fine.”
McCutchen Has Hall Of Fame Resume
Taken with the 11th overall pick in the 2025 MLB Draft, McCutchen spent the first nine seasons in Pittsburgh (2009-17) winning the 2013 NL MVP.
The five time All-Star and four-time Silver Slugger Award winner then spent 2018-2022 with the Giants, Yankees, Phillies and Brewers, where he enjoyed moderate success, but nothing like his tenure in Pittsburgh.
While Cutch won the 2013 NL MVP Award, his best season actually came in 2012 when he led the NL in hits with (194), on-base percentage (.410), extra-base hits (69) and OPS (.952).
He currently sits with a .276 batting average, 299 home runs, 2,048 hits, 1,045 RBI across a 15-year MLB career. Welcome back to the MLBbro OG Andrew McCutchen. Thanks for giving us another year of covering your illustrious baseball journey.
When the Washington Nationals drafted right-handed pitcher Marquis Grissom Jr. in the 13th round of the 2022 MLB Draft, they knew they were getting a special talent with a high ceiling and MLB pedigree.
What made that day even sweeter was the team drafted the 21-year-old and son of former MLB player Marquis Sr. on his birthday.
One thing that immediately stood out about Grissom was how he handles the expectations that come with his name.
In 2019, the hard-throwing pitcher told MLB.com this while attending the Breakthrough Series camp:
“People tell me I have a lot of expectations to live up to, but I’m just trying to make my own name.”
Thus far the Washington Nationals prospect has done exactly that, while refusing to feel pressure while he carves out his own destiny on the hill, despite being the son of a two-time All Star, four-time Gold Glove outfielder and World Series champion.
Grissom Shines For Single-A Fredericksburg
In his second season with Fredericksburg, Grissom Jr. shined in his role as a reliever in 2023.
In 31 appearances, he finished with a 4-2 record, 2.13 ERA and 39 strikeouts while allowing just a paltry .213 batting average in 41.1 innings pitched.
Grissom’s 1.11 WHIP (walks and hits per inning pitched) is what really jumps off the screen, and it shows the control he has on the mound. In all, it was a great showing as the Nationals may have drafted a hidden gem.
One of the top pitching prospects in the country coming out of high school, Grissom Jr. battled myriad injuries during his freshman season at Georgia Tech. That derailed his growth and played a role in him being drafted that late.
In retrospect, the Nationals quite possibly landed a first-to-second round talent, and he showed that this year by being named an MiLB All Star by the organization.
What’s Next For Grissom Jr.?
Known as a fastball/change-up pitcher, Grissom Jr led all Nats minor leaguers with 11 saves, while striking out batters at an impressive 8.49 K/9 clip. The biggest difference for Grissom from 2022 to 2023 was the increased velocity on his fastball which clocked out at 96 MPH this season, a full mile and a half faster than last season when he topped out at 94.5 MPH.
With the increased velocity, Grissom has still maintained the sharp control he’s always possessed. In fact, he used it to help him induce weak plate contact by batters as he’s become more comfortable with attacking the strike zone when called out on of the bullpen.
If he keeps this up it makes for a very likely call up to either High-A or Double-A ball sometime in 2024.
Until then, the kid whose goal was to carve out his own niche, will continue to do just that as one of a growing band of talented MLBbro one on the brightest prospects for the prospect-laden and rebuilding Nationals.
When former MLB slugger Andre “The Hawk” Dawson entered baseball lore and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, he wanted the cap on his plaque to reflect the team he holds most dear to his heart, the legendary Chicago Cubs. Baseball had other ideas and put him in a Montreal Expos cap.
The eight-time All-Star and 1987 NL MVP has been attempting to make the change since the announcement was made that he had earned his call to the Hall. Now, 13 years later the former MLB great still wants to have the cap on his plaque changed.
On Monday, Dawson who did the bulk of his damage while in an Expos uniform told reporters at the Chicago Tribune that he sent a letter ….
“I don’t expect them to jump on something like this,” Dawson said at the time. “If they elect to respond they’ll take their time. And it wouldn’t surprise me it they don’t respond.”
The Hall responded saying …
“We plan to speak to Andre but have not yet received the letter.”
Prior to the 2002 season players who were elected for the Baseball Hall of Fame were permitted to choose which team they wanted to go in under, and since Dawson’s induction came nine years later, he wasn’t afforded that opportunity. It’s now been over a decade, and the powers that be haven’t even considered making the change.
Dawson’s Best Years Were In Montreal
After being selected in the 11th round of the 1975 MLB Draft out of Florida A&M University, Dawson starred for the Expos from (1976-86) where he quickly established himself as one of the game’s best outfielders. The former slugger had 1,575 of his 2,774 hits in an Expos uniform. 225 of his 438 home runs came north of the border. Of his 1,591 RBI, 838 came in Montreal. He also won six of his eight gold gloves in Montreal, while leading the franchise to its only playoff series win in 1981.
So, if we’re talking impact, and that’s the main criteria, Dawson going as an Expo is a bit of a no-brainer.
That’s exactly what the Hall reiterated to Dawson at the time of the decision in 2010 with this statement:
“You want the logo to represent where this guy made his greatest impact. He was impactful in Montreal. He was impactful in Chicago, and to a much lesser extent Boston and Florida, it’s more of a case of siting down and collectively making a decision.”
To this day, and against his wishes, the decision is being made for Dawson by the Hall. That’s why he’s still lobbying to be heard.
Andre Dawson Had MVP Season With Chicago Cubs
In Hawk’s defense, he did enjoy his best professional season with the Cubs in 1987, winning his lone MVP award. He posted a .287 batting average with 49 home runs and 137 RBI. Yes, impactful, but not anywhere near the accumulation of feats he delivered during his 10-years in the Expos organization.
Dawson Is The First Player To Request Cap Change On Plaque
No other player has lobbied to have their cap on their Cooperstown plaque changed since that decision was taken out of the player’s hands in 2001. While, Dawson is attempting to change that, it’s highly unlikely he’s successful in doing so.
Dawson wanted to go into Cooperstown associated with one of baseball’s flagship franchises. The fact that the Expos are no longer in Montreal and have since become the Washington Nationals also further buries him in history. Baseball probably doesn’t want to open up a can of worms and have to deal with players wanting to change the teams on their plaques as well. So, while Dawson has a case, it probably won’t be heard.
The talent pool of up-and-coming MLBbros is as good as it’s been in quite some time, so choosing these five elite diamond miners wasn’t as easy.
James Wood, Washington Nationals, OF
The 6-foot-6 and 240-pound power hitting prospect ranks No.7 on MLB prospect rankings list. Wood enjoyed a very productive 2023 season with time split between Single-A Wilmington and Double-A Harrisburg.
Wood showed he’s much more than a power hitter, as he batted a solid .270 with a .536 slugging percentage and .899 OPS. His 26 homers were expected, but his 28 doubles and eight triples, 91 RBI and 65 walks are indicative of his potential as a pure hitter. A guy with refined hit tools who can also power surge, like St. Louis Cardinals phenomJordan Walker.
For his efforts the Nationals No.2 prospect was named the club’s Minor League Hitter of the Year.
Needs Improvement: Woods will need to cut down on the strikeouts (173). That’ll need to change prior to his expected call up sometime in 2024.
Termarr Johnson, Pittsburgh Pirates, 2B
Johnson was pretty electric during the 2023 season. Starring for Single-A Bradenton and High-A Greensboro, Johnson put together a quality season at the plate batting .244 with 18 homers and 59 RBI.
He also tallied 85 total hits and scored 83 runs. One of Johnson’s best traits is his plate discipline. He was able to draw 101 walks, which boosted his on-base percentage to .421. The Pirates have a budding difference-maker at second base.
Johnson’s expected arrival with the Pirates isn’t until 2025, but the anticipation and eagerness around the organization is growing daily. Big things are expected of the former No.4 overall pick. Johnson was named the Pirates Minor League Player of the Year.
During an in-season interview a reporter made reference to Johnson bulking up and getting stronger, the 19-year-old phenom responded with this.
“I’m glad you can see it. I don’t know how much it is, but it’s definitely a good bit.”
Needs Improvement:Much like Wood, Johnson must clean up the 120 strikeouts he posted.
Justin Crawford, Philadelphia Phillies, OF
Being the son of former MLB player Carl Crawford means the bloodline is there. And in 2023 Justin didn’t disappoint one bit. The budding Phillies outfield prospect showed why he was taken with the 17th pick of the 2022 MLB Draft.
The club’s No.3 ranked prospect and MLB’s 77th-ranked prospect batted a remarkable .344 in stops between Single-A Clearwater and High-A Jersey Shore. Crawford also drove in 64 runs and accumulated 47 stolen bases and 32 walks.
Not expected to be called until 2026, Crawford has all the tools to be get an earlier call up to the big leagues. When he was drafted Crawford told reporters this in his introductory interview: “I think I have a high IQ for the game. I take a lot of pride in that and I thank my dad a lot for that.”
Needs Improvement: His low homer numbers (3) are not a cause for concern because he swings a good bat and as he matures and gets stronger that number should increase.
Victor Scott II, St. Louis Cardinals, CF
Scott, the Cardinals No.4 ranked prospect behind the likes of Masyn Winn, Tink Hence and Chase Davis, could be the game’s next great defensive centerfielder.
Victor Scott II spent the 2023 season between High-A Peoria and Double-A Springfield, where he swung a great bat and played elite defense.
A .290 batting average to go along with 166 hits, including 20 doubles and ten triples, 94 stolen bases and 95 runs scored, are numbers that have the Cardinals organization excited.
Needs Improvement: His power numbers and plate consistency will increase as he moves up the pipeline.
Cam Collier, Reds, 3B
The son of former MLB player Lou Collier looks the part, and the belief is he’ll only get better with time. “Bam Bam” recently turned 19-years-old and had a solid season at Single-A Daytona where he batted a respectable .246 with 68 RBI.
There’s never been a question about Los Angeles Angels outfielder Jo Adell’s talent.
That’s been evident since the Angels made the five-tool player the tenth overall pick in the 2017 MLB Draft. Expected to be a cornerstone piece for the Angels along with superstar Mike Trout when drafted, Adell just hasn’t been able to put it altogether. But 2023 was supposed to be the year that he did, and while he’s shown flashes in Triple-A, that hasn’t translated to the majors.
Adell’s inconsistencies this season weren’t about effort or lackluster play, but injuries. The speedy outfielder just finished a 60-day stint on the injured list. The injury occurred just four games into his last call up to the majors in July. Adell had a tremendous opportunity to play every day and earn his keep filling in for superstar Trout who was injured on July 3.
Adell unfortunately suffered another injury to his oblique on July 7, pretty much taking away his opportunity to show he belongs in the majors.
Adell Says Injury Came At Inopportune Time
After hitting 23 homers in the first half of the Triple-A season, the belief was Adell was ready to completely turn the corner after years of teasing with his elite skill set, and the injury to the Trout was the perfect opportunity to showcase it. Until it wasn’t.
Upon his return last weekend Adell spoke with reporters about that lost opportunity.
“I think that was the thing that was most disappointing when I got hurt, just knowing you know the roster shrinkage and the players that were already down,” Adell said earlier this week. “It felt like a chance for me to come and really help, with the roster kind of diminishing a little bit.”
Adell says the oblique injury first occurred in 2021, and he tweaked it July 7, 2023. Now having suffered the injury twice in three seasons, he and the Angels are being more cautious as to how they approach it daily.
Adell says he has “a better routine now,” which will help prevent a repeat of the injury. In regard to his mental approach concerning the injury, Adell told reporters this …
Prior to the 2023 season Angels manager Phil Nevin mentioned that he expected Adell to play a vital role in the team’s success, and while that hasn’t manifested, he’s happy to see him back. Nevin, also told reporters he likes what he sees in Adell’s new approach at the plate, which includes a swing that is no longer just hit-or-miss.
That approach should bode well for Adell’s future with the club which was in doubt for most of this season.
Adell, spent his rehab with Triple-A Salt Lake, adding to his homer mark which now sits at 25. Getting back to MLB shape wasn’t easy. But the real challenge wasn’t the work, it was more about patience he had to have, Adell explained.
“These last couple weeks of rehab, I was getting really antsy,” he said. “I trusted our process of getting back and doing the things we needed to do.”
With the future of superstar Shohei Ohtani up in the air in LA, and Trout’s injury history, the Angels can’t afford to give up on a talent like Adell.