McCutchen’s Case for NL MVP

McCutchen’s Case for NL MVP

The Pirates are still within striking distance of the second National League wild card spot with just a couple weeks left in the regular season, and have a great shot at securing the team’s first winning season in two decades. While fans with Pittsburgh Pirates tickets hold out hope for a rally into the playoffs, the season is still a successful one by almost any measure, and the source of a great deal of that success is Andrew McCutchen, who has become one of the best players in the MLB. The question is, do his numbers this year make him MVP worthy?

McCutchen has made noticeable improvement in each of his four seasons with the Pirates, and the biggest stride he made in 2012 was becoming an effective average hitter, seeing his BA climb as high as .373 in the beginning of August. While that has dropped off a little in the last two months, he is still well above the .300 mark and is one of the main contenders for the NL batting title. McCutchen also increased his home run production from previous years, and is one pace to reach 30 homers on the season. Perhaps most impressively, his current on-base percentage of .410 is second in all of baseball. By most metrics, McCutchen’s statistics place him among the most valuable players in all of baseball, and the fact that he has kept Pittsburgh in the playoff hunt for so long is a testament to his importance to his franchise.

McCutchen’s success at the plate seemed to dictate his team’s success as well, as the Pirates were at their best when McCutchen was at the top of his game, and this may be the only reason he does not walk away with the NL MVP award in the offseason. C Buster Posey is a hitting machine for the San Francisco Giants, who own a sizeable lead in the NL West, and voters tend to favor players from the teams with the best records. Other contenders for MVP include Cardinals’ catcher Yadier Molina and Brewers’ outfielder Ryan Braun, who each have offensive stats comparable to McCutchen. And while neither the Cardinals or Brewers are locked into playoffs spots, their teams have been hotter down the stretch, while McCutchen and the Pirates have cooled off considerably since a torrid June and July. In terms of the MVP race, it is always better to start slowly and finish in impressive fashion than the other way around. Regardless of how the vote turns out, McCutchen has already turned in a season for the ages, and he still has a couple weeks to pad his resume further.


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