It's only the second week of May, and already we've had a no-hitter and a perfect game. John Buck and Mark Texeira have each connected for three homers in one night. The Brewers fifth outfielder, Jody Gerut, hit for the cycle. Paul Konerko is on pace for 71 HR. The Cubs' Starlin Castro had arguably the best first game ever, going 2-for-5 with a homer, a triple, and half a dozen RBI. Two team in the AL East are on pace to win 108 games or more.
With all the excitement of the first six weeks, naturally, a few performances are bound to get overlooked. Which is why I'm looking to shine a little light on Pittsburgh's Andrew McCutchen. McCutchen, who the BBA voted Rookie of the Year in 2009, has not suffered any sophomore slump, unlike the winner of the BBWA's version of the award, Chris Coghlan. McCutchen is currenty eighth in the National League in hitting, at .325, and he's second in stolen bases, with 10. Last week he was particularly hot, with ten hits in five games.
McCutchen's performance has been especially impressive because he's a youngster hitting in the middle of a Pirates lineup that doesn't offer much protection. Garrett Jones has been unable to duplicate the success of his rookie season. Lastings Milledge has been dreadful. Jeff Clement has been even worse. There might be a temptation on McCutchen's part to press, to expand the strikezone, and to swing for the fences, but so far he hasn't been doing any of those things. More and more, McCutchen is looking like the best Pirates player since Barry Bonds.