Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen has won the National League Most Valuable Player Award. He beat out the Arizona Diamondbacks Paul Goldschmidt and the St. Louis Cardinals Yadier Molina, the other two finalists for the award
McCutchen helped to lead the Pirates to their first postseason berth in over twenty years. The Pirates hosted the National League Wild Card game and beat the Cincinnati Reds, 6-2.
In the National League Division Series the Pirates took the St. Louis Cardinals to the edge but lost the series in five games. It was a magical season of baseball in the city of Pittsburgh and McCutchen was the ring leader.
A strong case could have been made for both Goldschmidt and Molina to win the NL MVP. Goldschmidt lead the National League in OPS(on-base percentage plus slugging percentage), slugging percentage and RBI. He tied the Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez for the National League lead in home runs and was fourth in on-base percentage.
Ultimately, Goldschmidt was held back from winning the NL MVP by the Diamondbacks disappointing .500 record and finishing 11 games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West. The Diamondbacks once lead the Dodgers and the NL West by nine games in mid-June.
Molina year in and year out is widely regarded as the best catcher in the Major Leagues. He mastery of calling a game for the Cardinals pitching staff is unparalleled. Every year the Cardinals have rookie pitchers come up from the minors and enjoy a high level of success.
The one constant is having Molina behind the plate keeping them calm and playing the catcher position like a maestro. What holds Molina back is that it’s hard to quantify for voters exactly what he brings to the game.
Enter McCutchen. He plays half of his games in the hardest park for right handed hitters to belt home runs. While his numbers trail Goldschmidt’s he did lead his team to the postseason for the first time in two decades. Take McCutchen off of the Pirates and they not only don’t make the playoffs they would likely not even be a .500 ball club.
McCutchen winning the NL MVP caps a great season of baseball in the Steel City. He received 28 out of a possible 30 first place votes. His manager, Clint Hurdle, was named the NL Manager Of the Year earlier this week.
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