Andrew McCutchen has been named the 2013 National League MVP, winning over Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt and St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina. In a race that was expected to be one of the closest in recent memory, McCutchen actually won in a landslide, receiving 28 of the 30 first place votes.
McCutchen joins the likes of Barry Bonds, Willie Stargell, Dave Parker, Roberto Clemente, Dick Groat and Paul Waner as Pirates to win the MVP award. McCutchen, 27, hit .317/.404/.508 with 38 doubles, five triples and 21 home runs in 2013. He also drove in 84 runs and scored 97 more while stealing 27 bases. Cutch ranked in the top ten in several categories in 2013, including hits, on-base percentage, total bases and slugging percentage. His 8.2 fWAR was first in the NL, and second in all of baseball behind only Mike Trout.
Along with being one of the best offensive players in baseball, McCutchen is also a great base-runner and defensive centerfielder. The Pirates’ centerfielder ranked fourth in the NL with a 6.9 UZR and ranked fourth with a 8.4 UZR/150.
McCutchen’s offensive numbers actually dropped from his outstanding 2012 season. In 2012, Cutch hit for a .327/.400/.553 line. However, he did improve on his walks and strikeouts in 2013. Despite his drop in offensive numbers in 2013, he made up for that with his much-improved defense and also with the Pirates not collapsing in the second half.
In the second half of 2011 and 2012, the Pirates and McCutchen played terribly. In 2013, McCutchen actually elevated his game in the second half, carrying his team to a playoff berth for the first time since 1992. The voters surely took into consideration that the Pirates were a “Cinderella-story” in 2013, and that’s fine — as long as people realize that McCutchen was worthy of winning the MVP even if the Pirates didn’t make the playoffs.