The Legend

The Legend

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Can Andrew McCutchen repeat?

In 2013 we saw the Pirates pretty much complete a "First time since 1992" checklist that has been hanging over the club like a dark cloud since Sid Bream slid past Mike LeValliere (that is still hard to type).  The first winning season, first playoff appearance, and first payoff series win were all items on that list that have mercifully been crossed off giving Pirates fans a sense of closure and a reason for optimism for the first time in 20 years.  And, the firsts kept coming even after the NLDS loss to the Cardinals when Andrew McCutchen became the first Pirate to be named NL MVP since 1992.  A bonus checkmark to be sure, but it was great way to cap off what was a great season for the Pirates organization and fans alike.  Now, with the ghosts of 1992 mostly put in the rear view mirror, I want to look ahead to the 2014 season and another possible first for the Pirates. Can Andrew McCutchen become the first Bucco to win back to back MVP awards?  According to Steamer Projections, Cutch will be a 6.6 WAR player in 2014 trailing only Buster Posey (7.1) in the senior circuit.  This projection may be a bit conservative considering McCutchen posted a 6.8 WAR in 2012 and 8.2 WAR last season.  Of course, even with the growing acceptance of advanced statistics, traditional counting stats will still factor into the decision.  Staying with Steamer, his projected 23 HRs and 89 RBIs still stack up well against the top 5 NL players in terms of WAR (as seen here).  In fact, those numbers would actually be a slight improvement over his 2013 stats that were god enough to earn him the award.  All things considered, I think it would be safe to say Cutch has a good chance to be a top NL MVP candidate next season.  However, there is one factor that I have failed to mention.  And, that is how the overall success of the Pirates will affect Andrew's chance to repeat.  After all, the case can be made that he actually had a better season offensively in terms of traditional statistics in 2012.  But, after the Pirates second half swoon, Cutch's MVP chances faded right along with the Pirates playoff hopes.  And if you don't think team performance factors into the MVP voting, just talk to Mike Trout.  If Andrew is going to repeat, the Pirates may also have to make back to back playoff appearances. 

2012 Topps Marquee /70 Auto Patch. 

1 comment:

  1. I think the last person to win an MVP on a losing team was Arod. You hit the nail on the head with Trout. He put up seasons where the only comparables were Ruth and Williams and it wasn't enough to win the award. Cutch will have to play on a winning team in order to be in the mix for the MVP.

    You have to think guys like Harper, Posey, Molina and Votto will also be in the mix. Cutch gets the nice bonus of being a center fielder so that tends to help his WAR as long as he contiunes to be a plus defender. How about repeat MVP and World Series champion!