All hail the leagues’ Most Valuable Players! Last night, Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera and Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutcheon were crowned with baseball’s most prestige out individual award.
No surprise that either player was picked by the BBWA as the MVP of his respective league. Both had remarkable seasons and helped carry their team from season’s beginning well into the month of October.
Once again, Cabrera beat out Angels outfielder Mike Trout, the darling of all sabermetricians, who finished second in the voting. Orioles first baseman Chris Davis finished third.
Cabrera becomes the first back-to-back American League MVP since Frank Thomas of the White Sox in 1993-94. Last year, Cabrera was selected after recording a triple crown (most home runs, RBIs, and highest batting average in the league), a rare and time honored statistical achievement. But he arguably had a better season this year, leading the league in batting average (.348), and finishing second in home runs (44) and RBIs (137). He had the leagues highest on-base percentage (.442) and slugging percentage (.636). And his injury in September revealed just how critical having his bat in the middle of the lineup was to the success of the Tigers – a measure of value that this award is meant to encompass.
McCutcheon blew his competition out of the water, finishing with a total of 409 points in the voting. Paul Goldschmidt, first baseman for the Diamondbacks, finished second with 242 votes. Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina finished third.
McCutchen ranked among the NL leaders by hitting .317 with 21 home runs and 84 RBI. He also scored 97 runs, stole 27 bases and had a .404 on-base percentage.
The award capped off what I have dubbed as the year of the Pirates. Pittsburgh captured the imaginations of fans and writers across the country by shedding 21 years worth of losing to finish with 94 wins and to push the Cardinals to a game 5 in the NLDS. Pirates manager Clint Hurdle was awarded NL Manager of the year honors for his role in guiding the team and helping change it’s losing culture.
All of the big individual awards have been given. In case you missed the others, here’s a recap.
AL Rookie of the Year: Wil Myers, OF, Rays
NL Rookie of the Year: Jose Fernandez, SP, Marlins
AL Manager of the Year: Terry Francona, Indians
NL Manager of the Year: Clint Hurdle, Pirates
AL Cy Young: Max Scherzer, SP, Tigers
NL Cy Young: Clayton Kershaw, SP, Dodgers