Before Thursday night’s announcement of this year’s winner of the National League Most Valuable Player Award, 2004 Perfect Game All-American Classic and Perfect Game National Showcase alumnus Andrew McCutchen had already received two very prestigious National League awards, each for the second straight year.
McCutchen, the Pittsburgh Pirates’ three-time All-Star center fielder, had earned his second straight Louisville Slugger Silver Slugger Award, an honor bestowed on the player that managers and coaches believe is the most productive offensively at his respective position.
Most impressively, however, was McCutchen receiving his second straight designation as The Players Choice Most Outstanding Player in the NL, an award voted on by his peers that acknowledges, in the players’ eyes, anyway, his standing as the league’s MVP.
“It definitely, for me, is an honor to have this award again considering that we do play around these guys every day,” McCutchen told the MLB Network and MLB.com after receiving the Players Choice Award. “It means a lot to me to know that they voted me for this award and it’s definitely an honor for (me)”
On Thursday night, the 30 voters from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA) fitted McCutchen for yet another crown and presented him with the 2013 National League Most Valuable Player Award.
He collected 28 of the possible 30 first-place votes and was able to out-point Arizona Diamondbacks All-Star, Rawlings Gold Glove and Silver Slugger first baseman Paul Goldschmidt and St. Louis Cardinals All-Star, Gold Glove, Silver Slugger catcher Yadier Molina, who received the other two first-place votes.
“I’m not a selfish player, and I definitely wasn’t thinking for myself,” McCutchen said on the MLB Network broadcast when asked if winning the MVP Award was on his mind during the season. “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.”
McCutchen has been on an incredible three-year run in which he was named to the NL All-Star team all three seasons, won Louisville Slugger Silver Slugger Awards in 2012 and 2013 and won a Gold Glove in 2012. His individual numbers this season weren’t nearly impressive as his 2012 numbers when he finished third in the MVP voting, but the results for the Pirates on the field were much more impressive.
Pittsburgh finished 94-68 for its first winning season in 20 years and advanced to the postseason for the first time in two decades; the Pirates beat the Cincinnati Reds in the NL Wild Card game before falling to the National League pennant winning St. Louis Cardinals 3 games to 2 in the best-of-5 NL Division Series.
McCutchen hit .317 with 38 doubles, 21 home runs, 84 RBI, 97 runs scored and 27 stolen bases while posting a .911 OPS. According to a published report on MLB.com, the Pirates were 42-18 in games he got at least two hits and 13-1 when he scored at least two runs.
McCutchen was selected by the Pirates with the 11th overall pick in the first-round of the 2005 MLB First-Year Player Draft as an 18-year-old right out of Fort Meade (Fla.) High School. He participated in seven Perfect Game events between January 2002 and October 2004 and was impressive right from the get-go.
He was listed as a 5-foot-10, 170-pound, 15-year-old high school sophomore when he showed up at the 2002 Underclassmen Showcase in Fort Myers, Fla., on Jan. 4, 2002, and immediately turned heads. The PG scouting report called McCutchen a “huge surprise for a player his age” noting that he ran a “blazing” 6.43 60-yeard dash and “swung possibly the fastest bat in the event.” The report went on to say:
“He showed (PG) power, hitting ability and good base-running; in the field he glides to the ball, showed good smooth actions and threw with low 80’s velocity with seemingly no effort. … Kind of reminds us of a younger Lastings Milledge, who is the No. 1-ranked ’03 in the country.”
McCutchen graded a perfect 10.0 at the event and had already been identified as a top-10 national prospect in the class of 2005.
He played in his first PG WWBA PG/BA World Championship in Jupiter, Fla., in 2003 which proved to be a big springboard into 2004 when he played on four of PG’s biggest stages. The wild ride started in June when he was first identified as a first-round draft material after another perfect 10.0 grade at the PG National Showcase in St. Petersburg, Fla.
After his performance in St. Petersburg, McCutchen was selected to play in the Perfect Game All-American Classic in Aberdeen, Md. Playing on an East Team that included five eventual first-round draft picks – including 2012 NL MVP Buster Posey and 2005 No. 1 overall draft pick Justin Upton – McCutchen set an event record with four hits, a mark that still stands.
His Perfect Game career ended where it began, on the playing fields in Fort Myers, when he suited up for Team Florida at the 2004 WWBA PG/BA World Championship. It was at that event that he shared those Southwest Florida fields with 2011 and 2013 NL Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw.
Detroit Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera won his second straight American League Most Valuable Player Award. The BBWAA voting panel gave the nod to Cabrera over PG alumni Mike Trout from the Los Angeles Angels and Chris Davis from the Baltimore Orioles. It is the second straight year Trout finished runner-up to Cabrera in the balloting.
McCutchen joins the San Francisco Giants’ Buster Posey and the Cincinnati Reds’ Joey Votto as Perfect Game alumni that have won MLB Most Valuable Player Awards – Posey won the NL award last season (2012) and Votto was the NL winner in 2010.