Yesterday morning as I was eating breakfast, I stumbled upon an interview with Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen on PiratesReport.com where he was talkiing about stealing more bases in 2011. The artilcle focused on McCutchen adding muscle to his frame this year, but when asked if he wants to hit more homeruns, McCutchen responded saying he "I won't say that I'll just play longball," he said. "The extra pounds aren't for that. They will help me maintain a more consistent weight throughout the season. The speed is there still."
Here is more:
If McCutchen experienced a slight drop-off in the latter stages, then it was on the basepaths. He attempted only three stolen bases in the final 21 games of the season, mostly the result of limited chances and a tentative approach. His No. 1 priority is to be more aggressive this time around.
"I want to steal more bases. I want to get to that next base every time," he said. "That's what I'll try to do. There will be some things that I'll be able to see that I didn't before, to take off that split second and make it there a little bit quicker. There are some things that I can change for the better, and that will help me out that much more. I want to continue to get better at my jumps, because I know once I get it, nothing will stop me regardless of how quickly the pitcher throws to the plate."
McCutchen hit 16 HRs and stole 33 bases in 2010. Could he go 20-40 in 2011?
Here is Pirates beat reporter Rob Biertempfel quoting new manager Clint Hurdle at the Pirates fanfest this weekend:
Will #pirates steal more in 2011? Hurdle: "We're going to run. We're going to go."
I think Hurdle's quotes just increased the value of Andrew McCutchen and Jose Tabata with that quote. Tabata stole 44 bases between AA and the big leagues last year, so stealing 40 is a good possibility. Could they both steal 40 bases in 2011? I think its possible. Hurdle is an aggressive manager, and I can see the Pirates being an exciting team at the plate this season.