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.