Miguel Cabrera wins AL MVP award; Andrew McCutchen takes NL MVP
Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera won his second consecutive American League Most Valuable Player award and Pirates centerfielder Andrew McCutchen won his first National League MVP in balloting announced on Thursday by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.
Cabrera is the first AL player since former White Sox slugger Frank Thomas in 1993 and '94 to win the award in consecutive seasons. Just as in 2012, he beat out Angels outfielder Mike Trout for the honor. Cabrera received 23 first-place voters and 385 points overall; Trout got 5 firsts and had 282 total points. The Orioles' Chris Davis, who led the majors in home runs and RBIs, got one first-place vote but finished third with 232 points. Oakland's Josh Donaldson got the remaining first-place vote.
McCutchen is the first Pirates player since Barry Bonds in 1992 to win the award. He got 28 first-place votes and 409 points overall. Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt (0 firsts, 242 points overall) and Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina (2, 219) finished second and third, respectively.
Cabrera overcame nagging injuries late in the season to lead the majors in batting average (.348; his third straight AL batting title), on-base percentage (.442) and slugging percentage (.636). He also had 44 home runs and 137 RBIs, almost mirroring his totals from 2012: 44 and 139, both of which led the majors en route to his winning the first Triple Crown in 45 years. Just as in 2012, he powered Detroit to the AL Central title while Trout's Angels missed the postseason entirely.
Trout led the league in runs and walks and hit .323 with a .432 OBP and .557 slugging while adding 27 home runs and 33 stolen bases. He led all of baseball with 9.2 Wins Above Replacement, according to Baseball-Reference.com. Davis had 53 home runs and 138 RBIs and his 370 total bases were also the most in the major leagues.
Last year's Pirates finished below .500 for the 20th consecutive season, a record for major North American team sports. This year, though, McCutchen carried Pittsburgh to its first winning season and first postseason berth since the Bonds-led squad of '92. He topped the team in batting average (.317), on-base percentage (.404) and slugging percentage (.508) while also hitting 21 home runs and stealing 27 bases. He finished in the top 10 of the National League in all three slash stats as well as runs, hits and total bases and led NL position players in offensive wins above replacement, according to Baseball-Reference.com.
Goldschmidt was the league's premier power hitter, ranking first in home runs (36), RBIs (125), slugging percentage (.551), OPS (.952) and total bases (322). He was bidding to become the first Arizona player to win the MVP award. Molina set a career-high with a .319 average and added 12 home runs and 80 RBIs to his always excellent defense that resulted in his sixth consecutive Gold Glove award. He helped St. Louis to the NL Central title and, eventually, a berth in the World Series, where it lost in six games to the Red Sox.