MLB: Cabrera, McCutchen are MVPs
Detroit Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera found a good way to follow up a Triple Crown season, winning a second consecutive American League Most Valuable Player award Thursday.
The National League MVP went to Pittsburgh center fielder Andrew McCutchen, who guided the Pirates to their first postseason berth since 1992.
Cabrera, who finished in the top two in the league in every major offensive category this year, received 23 of 30 first-place votes for the AL honor from members of the Baseball Writers Association of America.
Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout came in second, receiving five first-place votes. Baltimore Orioles first baseman Chris Davis took third with one first-place vote, and Oakland Athletics third baseman Josh Donaldson got the final first-place vote and finished fourth.
McCutchen captured 28 of 30 first-place votes for the NL award. Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt came in second. St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina, who received the other two first-place votes, took third place.
Cabrera, 30, became the first back-to-back AL MVP since the Chicago White Sox’s Frank Thomas in 1993 and 1994. Since then, the San Francisco Giants’ Barry Bonds won four consecutive NL MVPs from 2001 to 2004, and first baseman Albert Pujols, then of the St. Louis Cardinals, topped the NL voting in 2008 and ‘09.
“This is unbelievable. I’m so excited right now,” Cabrera said on MLB Network after the results were announced. “I’m thankful because I got great teammates, I got a great organization. The Detroit Tigers support me, my family, my kids and my wife. I’m very blessed because I’m in this position right now. I’m excited.”
In 148 games this year, Cabrera led the AL in batting average (.348), on-base percentage (.442) and slugging percentage (.636). He finished second to Davis in home runs (44) and RBIs (137).
He earned his eighth All-Star appearance while helping the Tigers win the AL Central championship.
In 2012, Cabrera became the first baseball player to win the Triple Crown — leading the league in batting average, home runs and RBIs — since the Boston Red Sox’s Carl Yastrzemski in 1967.
The Tigers earned a third MVP in a row, as right-hander Justin Verlander won the award in 2011. The last team to win as many consecutive MVPs was the San Francisco Giants, who earned a record five in a row from 2000-04. The AL record is four in a row, by the New York Yankees from 1954-57 and 1960-63.
Cabrera joins a club of 17 players who won back-to-back MVPs.
Trout, 22, batted .323 (third in the league) with 27 home runs and 97 RBIs to go along with his stellar defense. He finished second in the AL in on-base percentage (.432) and fourth in slugging percentage (.557).
Davis, 27, hit 77 home runs in five major league seasons before his power stroke exploded in 2013. He led the league with 53 homers and 138 RBIs, and his .286 average was a career high.
Donaldson, 27, batted .301 with a .384 on-base percentage, a .499 slugging percentage, 24 homers and 93 RBIs — all career highs.
With McCutchen leading the way, Pittsburgh ended its big-league-record streak of 21 consecutive losing seasons. Not coincidentally, McCutchen became the Pirates’ first MVP since their last winning season, when Bonds was the winner in 1992.
“I’m not a selfish player, and I definitely wasn’t thinking for myself,” McCutchen told MLB Network. “I was just trying to be the best player I could be for my team. That’s definitely what I tried to do every single day, day in and day out. But there were times in the game when I’d come up to bat and you’d just hear everybody standing up and chanting ‘MVP,’ and it was awesome to be able to hear something like that, something you don’t hear all the time.”
McCutchen, 27, improved upon his third-place finish in the 2012 NL MVP voting. He batted .317 (seventh in the NL) with a .404 on-base percentage (third), a .508 slugging percentage (sixth), 21 homers, 84 RBIs and 27 stolen bases.
Goldschmidt, 26, batted .302, tied for the league lead in home runs (36) and topped the league with 125 RBIs and a .551 slugging percentage. He was a first-time All-Star this year, and he earned his first Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards.
Molina, 31, captured his sixth consecutive Gold Glove for his stellar work shutting down the opposition’s running game and guiding the Cardinals’ pitching staff. He hit a career-high .319 (fourth in the league) with a .359 on-base percentage, a .477 slugging percentage, 12 homers and 80 RBIs.