Once again, this year's MLB postseason awards didn't offer much of a surprise. Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers and Andrew McCutchen of the Pittsburgh Pirates collected the MVP awards Thursday, as expected.
Miguel Cabrera won his second straight American League MVP award, capping another season of pulverizing baseballs and once again topping Mike Trout for the game's most prestigious individual award.
McCutchen meanwhile, won his first National League MVP after leading the Pittsburgh Pirates back to the postseason for the first time in 21 years. Not so coincidentally, he's the Pirates' first MVP winner since 1992 when Barry Bonds won it.
The MVP award is decided by votes from the Baseball Writers' Association of America, with two writers representing each city in the AL and NL. Some thought this year's ballots might be close, but it turned it neither really was.
On the AL side: Cabrera received 23 of 30 first-place votes, surpassing Trout (who earned five first-place votes) and Baltimore Orioles slugger Chris Davis, who finished third. The final points tally for the top three: Cabrera 385, Trout 282, Davis 232. Davis earned one first-place vote, as did Josh Donaldson of the Oakland Athletics.
On the NL side: McCutchen earned 28 of 30 first-place votes. Paul Goldschmidt finished second but didn't receive a first-place vote. Yadier Molina was third, and got the other two first-place votes. Final tally: McCutchen 409, Goldschmidt 242, Molina 219.
Cabrera was unquestionably the most dangerous hitter in baseball this season and he might have actually been better than a year ago when he won the Triple Crown en route to the MVP. He hit .348/.442/.636 with 44 homers and 137 RBIs. Only Davis had more homers and RBIs than Cabrera. Miggy led the league in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, adjusted OPS and wOBA, with a nagging injury limiting him down the stretch. He also won the Players Choice award as the league's top player.
Just like last year, baseball pundits were divided on Cabrera vs. Trout — some even calling it "stupid" for Cabrera to be considered the MVP. It's old-school vs. new school, traditional stats vs. advanced stats. Cabrera had a better team and better numbers in the Triple Crown categories. Trout, meanwhile, had the sabermetic edge.
The 22-year-old outfielder had a league-leading 10.4 WAR. Trout was good across the board, playing stellar defense while batting .323/.432/.557 with a league-leading 109 runs scored, 39 doubles, nine triples, 27 homers, 97 RBIs, a league-leading 110 walks and 33 stolen bases. The main knock on Trout? His team finished 78-84, thus he didn't play in as many meaningful games as Cabrera.
Miggy, meanwhile, becomes the first player since Albert Pujols in 2008 and 2009 to win back-to-back MVPs. The last AL player to do so was Frank Thomas in 1993 and 1994.
There wasn't as much debate in the National League, though each finalist had a legitimate case for winning the MVP. At the end, it was McCutchen who ran away with the award.
McCutchen didn't have the dominating home run and RBI numbers often associated with this award. Rather, he was the best player on the team that was baseball's best story. His numbers were good, of course, but the narrative was even better. McCutchen lead the NL with a 8.2 WAR. He batted .317/.404/.508 with 27 steals and 296 total bases. He hit 21 homers with 84 RBIs.
McCutchen is a plus centerfielder. With him patrolling the field and leading the team in the dugout, the Pirates finished 94-68, their first winning season since 1992. They went to the postseason as a wild card, then advanced to the NLDS where they lose to the St. Louis Cardinals.
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