Commentary

Andrew McCutchen's Bondsian path

And other reasons to be excited about the upstart Pittsburgh Pirates

Updated: June 27, 2011, 11:25 AM ET
By Jonah Keri | FanGraphs
Andrew McCutchenMark J. Rebilas/US PresswireAndrew McCutchen is shaping up to be the Bucs' best player since Barry Bonds.

The Pittsburgh Pirates got a rare turn in the spotlight last week. In picking UCLA starting pitcher Gerrit Cole first overall in the amateur draft, the Bucs gave the baseball world a chance to imagine the hulking, 6-foot-4 right-hander anchoring a winning rotation. A half-decade from now, Cole and last year's highly-touted high school phenoms Jameson Taillon and Stetson Allie could lead one of the best pitching staffs in the game.

But Pittsburgh could become a contender much sooner than that. Because right now, Andrew McCutchen looks a little like a young Barry Bonds.

Jonah Keri (@jonahkeri) is a staff writer for Grantland. His book, The Extra 2%: How Wall Street Strategies Took a Major League Baseball Team From Worst to First, is a national best seller. His new book Up, Up, and Away, on the history of the Montreal Expos, is now available for preorder.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

MORE MLB HEADLINES

MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM