It looks like the 2012 NL batting title is once again Andrew McCutchen’s to lose. According to a report on ESPN’s Outside the Lines, current leader San Francisco Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera has disqualified himself from the batting race. The report says Cabrera “had no wish to win an award that would be tainted.” Cabrera was assessed a 50-game suspension on August 15 after testing positive for high levels of testosterone, implying the use of performance-enhancing drugs.
Cabrera was batting .346 before the suspension and has enough at bats on the season for the .346 to stick as his qualifying average. McCutchen is currently batting .339, and would have finished second in the batting race had he finished the year with that number and Cabrera not requested his own disqualification.
Now, McCutchen is not only the current National League batting leader, but the batting leader of the entire MLB. Giants catcher Buster Posey is second for both numbers with a .335 average. Detroit Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera leads the AL with a .333 average.
With 13 games left on the Pittsburgh Pirates’ season and the team all but eliminated from playoff contention, I don’t think anyone would blame McCutchen should he begin turning his attention to his own statistics and attempting to claim this title and even the NL MVP award.
While he may be a slight underdog for the MVP award as a player on a non-playoff team – regardless of how little sense that makes – McCutchen will have to improve on his .299 September batting average this season. Posey is absolutely surging, hitting .375 this month, putting him on pace to end the season with a .338 average.
Follow Troy on Twitter @TroyPfaff for more Pittsburgh Pirates content