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McCutchen, Pirates worst in majors at stealing bases

| Sunday, Sept. 2, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

Andrew McCutchen emerged as an MVP candidate by zipping past previous career bests in nearly every offensive category. But the typically swift center fielder is doing more harm than good when he tries to steal a base.

McCutchen was an adept base thief through the first three months of 2012, going 14 for 18 from April to June. Since July, however, he has just one steal in eight tries.

McCutchen was one of the game's best base-stealers during his first two seasons, swiping bags at a clip that easily topped the National League average. But his stolen-base percentage dipped last year and is the worst in baseball this season among players who have attempted at least 25 steals.

McCutchen has cost the Pirates a couple of scores, according to Stolen Base Runs, which compares the value of a runner's stolen-base attempts to that of an average baserunner:

Year SB CS SB Pct. SBR

2009 22 5 81.4 +0.9

2010 33 10 76.7 +0.3

2011 23 10 69.7 -0.4

2012 15 11 57.7 -1.8

NL Avg. (2009-12): 71.8 percent

McCutchen isn't the only Pirate struggling to plunder this season.

Jose Tabata (-1.8 Stolen Base Runs) is tied with McCutchen for the worst SBR total in the majors, while Neil Walker (-1.1) and Alex Presley (-0.9) also have attempted double-digit steals with little success.

The Pirates have the worst team stolen-base percentage (56) in the majors and bring up the rear in team Stolen Base Runs, through Friday:

Team SB CS SB Pct. SBR

Pirates 57 45 56 -6.9

Orioles 43 27 61 -3.3

Cubs 80 41 66 -1.7

Dodgers 87 37 70 -1.6

D'backs 75 44 63 -1.4

Source: BaseballProspectus.com

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