The Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder hit .317 with 21 home runs and 27 stolen bases, posting an OPS of .911, all while helping to send the Pirates to the playoffs for the first time since 1992. He also played a premium position — center field — and posted an 8.2 WAR in Fangraphs’ system, which was second in MLB behind Mike Trout. McCutchen was a star player on a team that made the postseason in a year where there weren’t many other standouts in the NL.
Like I said, he was an easy choice for NL MVP … unless you were from St. Louis.
28 of the 30 voters gave their first-place MVP vote to McCutchen. The two voters who did not vote for McCutchen first were Derrick Goold and Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, who both voted Yadier Molina first. Hummel didn’t even have McCutchen second; he put Cardinals second baseman Matt Carpenter second and ‘Cutch fourth. Carpenter finished fourth in MVP voting behind Paul Goldschmidt and Molina.
Molina obviously is an excellent player. That is not in dispute. I do think that his contributions calling pitches and handling his pitching staff are immense and difficult to quantify. I think he deserved to be third in MVP voting, but not first ahead of McCutchen. It’s also interesting to note the homerism of the situation — only the St. Louis media voted Yadi first.