Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Indeed, the Pittsburgh Pirates have a lot to celebrate these days and their center fielder is at the heart of their resurgence.
McCutchen was named National League Most Valuable Player on Thursday after leading the Pirates to their first winning record and postseason appearance since 1992.
That was also the year Barry Bonds won Pittsburgh's last MVP.
"I'm very happy. If I could get up and dance right now I would," McCutchen said on MLB Network after the award was announced. "But I don't have enough room to do that. When we get off camera, I probably will."
Detroit Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera is more accustomed to such things.
Cabrera won American League MVP for the second year in a row, again beating Angels outfielder Mike Trout in what is shaping up to be a yearly battle between the game's best hitter by most measures and possibly its best all- around player.
McCutchen won in a landslide over Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, receiving 28 of the 30 first-place votes. Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina, who finished third, got the other two first-place mentions.
Baltimore Orioles first baseman Chris Davis -- Cabrera's road block to another Triple Crown -- finished third in AL voting after leading the majors with 53 home runs and 138 RBI.
It was the third AL MVP in a row to go to a Tigers player. Cabrera got his first last year after winning the Triple Crown and pitcher Justin Verlander won in 2011.
Cabrera received 23 first-place votes and Trout had five. Davis and Oakland Athletics third baseman Josh Donaldson both received one.
"I was so nervous because it was a great competition," Cabrera said. "This is fun."
McCutchen's 185 hits and .404 on-base percentage both ranked third in the NL. He had 21 homers, 84 RBI and batted .317, good for seventh in the league. His 27 stolen bases ranked sixth.
The Pirates went 94-68 to finish second in the NL Central behind St. Louis. They beat Cincinnati in the NL wild-card game and lost to the Cardinals in the NLDS.
The return to the postseason also helped Pittsburgh's Clint Hurdle win NL Manager of the Year on Tuesday. (Awards are voted on prior to the playoffs.)
Goldschmidt, who won his first Gold Glove, led the NL with a .551 slugging percentage and 125 RBI and tied Pittsburgh's Pedro Alvarez for first place with 36 home runs.
Molina captured his sixth Gold Glove, tied for third in the NL with a .319 average and had 12 home runs, 80 RBI and a .359 on-base percentage.
McCutchen received 409 total points. Goldschmidt had 15 second-place votes and 242 points and Molina finished with eight second-place votes and 219 points.
Molina's two first-place votes came from St. Louis Post-Dispatch writers Rick Hummel and Derrick Goold.
"It was great to see those guys make it to this point," McCutchen said of his fellow MVP finalists. "I'm very happy for them. I didn't know what to expect. I just said whatever happens, happens."
Cabrera received 385 points. Trout got five first-place votes, 19 second-place votes and had 282 points. Davis finished with four second-place votes and 232 points.
Between April and August, Cabrera had 43 home runs, 130 RBI and was hitting .358 before being slowed by a tear in his groin that required surgery last month.
Those numbers put him on pace to challenge for another Triple Crown after he was the first player since 1967 to lead the league in average, homers and RBI last season. Cabrera said he didn't think he would have won another one if he'd stayed healthy.
"Davis put up great numbers," he said.
Cabrera led the majors with a .442 on-base percentage and .348 average -- winning his third straight AL batting title -- but hit just one home run and knocked in seven more runs after August.
He finished second in home runs and RBI to Davis, who also batted .286 as the Orioles went 85-77 to tie for third place in the ultra-competitive AL East.
Trout, last season's Rookie of the Year and one of the game's best outfielders, stole 33 bases and led the AL with 109 runs scored. He batted .323, hit 27 homers, knocked in 97 runs and was second in the AL behind Cabrera with a .432 on-base percentage.
The Angels, despite a star-studded lineup. went 78-84 and missed the playoffs for the fourth straight season.
Cabrera had the same number of homers as last season but finished with two fewer RBI and batted 18 points better as the Tigers won the AL Central at 93-69.