Pittsburgh Pirates All-Star center fielder Andrew McCutchen was named one of five finalists for the NL MVP award tonight on MLB Network. Joining McCutchen as finalists for the award are World Series Champion catcher Buster Posey, Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun, St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina and San Diego Padres third baseman Chase Headley.
Members of the Baseball Writers Association of America vote on the award. Unfortunately for McCutchen, their historical voting habits mean he won’t be adding an NL MVP Award to his 2012 trophy cabinet, which already consists of a Gold Glove and the NL’s Outstanding Player Award.
Had the 2012 season ended after the month of July, McCutchen would have been a shoe-in for the MVP award. The Pirates were still in contention not only for a playoff spot, but for the NL Central title itself, and McCutchen was the best – and certainly most valuable – player in baseball.
Unfortunately, the MLB season is seven months long, not five. McCutchen and the Pirates struggled down the stretch. The 26-year-old’s batting average dropped from an ungodly .370 all the way down to .327 over the final two months of the season and the Pirates once again faded into oblivion, even capturing the franchise’s 20th consecutive losing season – a North American major professional sports record.
Needless to say, the Pirates didn’t make the playoffs. For some reason, reaching the postseason seems to be a prerequisite for a player winning the Most Valuable Player award in today’s game.
In all likelihood, Posey will take home the MVP award. The race essentially came down to McCutchen, Braun and Posey, and Posey is the only one who played in a postseason game this fall.
While it’s a shame that this award is narrowed down and then decided by which player plays on the best team, such is life. McCutchen has a long career ahead of him. He’ll see plenty more All-Star games and should be considered for NL MVP honors at least a few more times during what should turn out to be an illustrious career.
Even if it is in left field.
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