Pirate CF, Tiger 3B win MVP awards with little challenge
NEW YORK – Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen and Detroit Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera both coasted Thursday to Most Valuable Player awards.
McCutchen won the National League honor by a surprisingly wide margin after leading a baseball revival in Pittsburgh. He drew 28 of the 30 first-place votes from members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
Seated in a sweater and tie, a smiling McCutchen juked a sort of stationary shimmy when his name was announced on MLB Network.
“If I could get up and dance right now I would, but I don’t have much room to do that,” he said. “When I get off camera, I probably will.”
Cabrera took the AL prize for the second straight year, again winning by a comfortable gap over Angels outfielder Mike Trout.
A season after posting the majors’ first Triple Crown in 45 years, Cabrera came back to lead baseball in hitting at .348 and finish second with 44 home runs and 137 RBIs.
Cabrera got 23 of 30 first-place votes, becoming the first player to win consecutive AL MVPs since Frank Thomas for the Chicago White Sox in 1993 and 1994.
“This is unbelievable,” Cabrera said, young kids buzzing around him. “I’m so excited right now.”
McCutchen ranked among the NL leaders by hitting .317 with 21 home runs and 84 RBIs. He also scored 97 runs, stole 27 bases and had a .404 on-base percentage.
The 27-year-old with the long, flowing dreadlocks helped the Pirates stop a record streak of 20 losing seasons and make the playoffs for the first time since 1992.
McCutchen’s win came two days after Pirates manager Clint Hurdle was picked as the NL Manager of the Year. McCutchen was the first Pittsburgh player to win the MVP since Barry Bonds in 1992.
The Pirates went 94-68 this year, a season after going 79-83. Along the way, McCutchen became the face of the franchise and heard loud “MVP!” chants when he would step to the plate at PNC Park this summer.
“I’d lie to you if I said it didn’t enter my mind ever,” he said. “It’s awesome to hear something like that.”
Cabrera clearly was baseball’s most dominant hitter for most of the season as the Tigers won their third straight AL Central crown. But an assortment of injuries hobbled him down the stretch and into the playoffs, and he had surgery after the season to repair a groin tear; he’s expected to be ready for spring training.
Cabrera took his third AL batting title in a row. He also drew a $1 million bonus for winning a second MVP during his current contract with the Tigers.
“I was so nervous because it was a great competition,” he said.
The 30-year-old third baseman from Venezuela also captured the AL MVP last year when he hit .330 with 44 homers and 139 RBIs. Cabrera topped Trout 22-6 in first-place votes in that balloting.
The Tigers have virtually owned the major postseason awards during a 3-year run of success. Justin Verlander was the MVP and Cy Young winner in 2011, Cabrera took the MVP last season and Detroit ace Max Scherzer won this year’s Cy Young Award on Wednesday.
Top 5 finishers
Andrew McCutchen (Pitt) 409 points; Paul Goldschmidt (Ariz) 242 points; Yadier Molina (StL) 219 points; Matt Carpenter (StL) 194; Freddie Freeman (Atl) 154
Miguel Cabrera (Det) 385 points; Mike Trout (LA) 282 points; Chris Davis (Balt) 232 points; Josh Donaldson (Oak) 222 points; Robinson Cano (NY) 150