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Saturday, August 18, 2012

TSN: McNeal: For Andrew McCutchen to be NL MVP, he needs help in winning numbers game

The Sporting News (overrated).

For four-plus months, Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen has been putting up MVP numbers. He leads the National League in batting (.360), runs (85) and slugging (.605).

But with less than seven weeks left in the season, those numbers could be McCutchen’s biggest obstacle to actually winning an MVP.

How’s that?

Well, as McCutchen’s numbers have risen to superstar level, so has his reputation. A year ago, he probably was the one guy whom Pirates’ opponents would not let beat them. Nowadays, there’s no question. About the only strikes he sees are mistakes.

...The lack of a consistent four-hole force is why I believe McCutchen’s chances of winning the MVP rest almost as much on Garrett Jones as on the man himself, since Jones has claimed the role as Pittsburgh’s primary cleanup hitter. The more Jones hits, the less pitchers can dance around McCutchen.

...McCutchen is being hard on himself—after all, he’s hitting .353 with a .455 OBP since the break—but he could use a boost in the (overrated) RBI department to maintain his status as MVP front-runner. He has 72 to lead the Pirates but has fallen out of the NL top 10.

Repoz Posted: August 18, 2012 at 08:13 AM | 19 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: pirates

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: August 18, 2012 at 09:02 AM (#4211235)
“I wouldn’t want to put that kind of responsibility on Garrett,” Hurdle says. “But I’ll tell you this, if they throw McCutchen strikes, he’ll win the MVP.”
If they don't throw McCutchen strikes, he might win the MVP anyway.

I don't think anyone's ready to give it to Braun again.
   2. TomH Posted: August 18, 2012 at 10:14 AM (#4211259)
The biggest single numerical impediment to Andrew's MVP case is [Wins by Pirates team; enough to win Wild Card]. Seriously.... to win an MVP from a non-playoff team is a very tough feat.
   3. Chokeland Bill Posted: August 18, 2012 at 10:53 AM (#4211272)
With Votto out for so long, who else is even in the race? Posey, probably. Wright and Braun won't be. The Nationals don't really have a candidate. The Braves have Bourn, but he doesn't have the type of numbers you usually see for an MVP.

Even if they don't make the playoffs, McCutchen will probably get some extra credit just for the Pirates' first winning record in 20 years.
   4. hokieneer Posted: August 18, 2012 at 11:14 AM (#4211282)
Even if they don't make the playoffs, McCutchen will probably get some extra credit just for the Pirates' first winning record in 20 years.


The moment Votto went down, it became McCutchen's award to lose. I agree, if it comes down to Braun, Wright, McCutchen... and all three of them miss the playoffs, McCutchen will still get the team wins bump for the Pirates being in the race and finally having a winning season.

I guess there is still an outside chance that Votto could win. If the Pirates/Cardinals close the gap on Cincinnati and Votto comes back and hits like a machine for the last 3-4 weeks, he'll have the narrative to go along with really impressive rate stats in just 110-120 games. Vlad and Morneau both won with that "carry the team to the playoffs" narrative, but they did log a full season of games as well.
   5. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: August 18, 2012 at 11:19 AM (#4211285)
I think the way that the Reds have played without Votto kind of hurts his chances, and he needs to come back pretty soon if he's going to get to 110-120 games.
   6. hokieneer Posted: August 18, 2012 at 11:54 AM (#4211311)
I think the way that the Reds have played without Votto kind of hurts his chances, and he needs to come back pretty soon if he's going to get to 110-120 games.


I agree on both counts. I'm a Reds fan, and McCutchen has my non-existent vote right now. I say it's < 5% chance Votto wins the MVP, but the opportunity for the all important narrative is there.
   7. tshipman Posted: August 18, 2012 at 12:01 PM (#4211320)
Posey in the 2nd half:

.427/.511/.755, 9 HR and more walks than strikeouts.

I think he has a legit shot if the Giants make the playoffs and the Pirates don't. Furthermore, he may deserve it, although it won't be recognized on this board due to the blind spots of WAR and catcher defense.
   8. cardsfanboy Posted: August 18, 2012 at 12:08 PM (#4211325)
The biggest single numerical impediment to Andrew's MVP case is [Wins by Pirates team; enough to win Wild Card]. Seriously.... to win an MVP from a non-playoff team is a very tough feat.


For the Pirates to be in the hunt(or better to be more accurate this late in the season) I think is enough to qualify the team. I don't think it's difficult to win from a non-playoff team. True it's been since 2008 that an MVP came from a non-playoff team(Pujols) but I don't think that players are being kept out of all the votes based upon their team standings.

In the NL, who are the legitimate MVP candidates. You have Braun who isn't going to win no matter what. You have Holliday and Beltran both on the same team so they'll split some votes off, and of course that team is not in the playoffs at this moment. Votto has missed to many games, Posey will get a bump from Cabrera's ouster, if they make the playoffs. Wright is the guy who is going to get hammered the most by his team not being in contention.

I just don't see how McCutchen doesn't win it.
   9. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 18, 2012 at 12:36 PM (#4211345)
votto is being rested by baker because the reds are chewing through the league so there is nothing gained by rushing him back. dusty will likely get him going come september

unless, of course, the injury is worse than stated. but that is something to be discussed if and when it is revealed

andrew is the easy leader in the clubhouse and anyone who votes for another player is pretty much a halfwit.
   10. TomH Posted: August 18, 2012 at 01:04 PM (#4211369)
Beltran or Holliday; if either goes on an RBI tear and St Louis finishes well, the meme "RBI king on a winner" will generate lots of MVP support.
   11. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 18, 2012 at 01:14 PM (#4211376)
tom

no way. holliday, rightly or wrongly, is considered an oaf in the field and beltran is down to .279 batting average. even if beltran got white hot and finished over .300 somehow andrew would likely have a 40 point advantage in batting average alone.

no way
   12. SoSH U at work Posted: August 18, 2012 at 01:33 PM (#4211383)
Beltran or Holliday; if either goes on an RBI tear and St Louis finishes well, the meme "RBI king on a winner" will generate lots of MVP support.


Since 2000, an RBI champion (or co-champ) has played on a playoff team 9 times. Only once (A-Rod in 2007) has he won the MVP. One other RBI champion won the MVP on a non-playoff team (not surprisingly, Howard in 2006), while numerous other RBI champs played on above .500 teams but didn't win the MVP.

I'm with Harveys. Barring a collapse by McCutcheon or the Pirates (or possibly both), he's going to run away with it.
   13. Mike Emeigh Posted: August 18, 2012 at 01:34 PM (#4211384)
I think that for McCutchen to win the award, the Pirates are going to have to finish above .500. That's still not a given, although the schedule lightens up for them after this weekend; they need to go 16-26 to get there, with 28 of those 42 remaining games against teams that are currently under .500. Nine are against the Brewers, who have traditionally given the Bucs problems (although they are 3-3 against them this year, all in Miller Park which has been a house of horrors for the Pirates over the years).

I had really thought that the Pirates would be lucky to be at 65 wins after this weekend, given the quality of their opposition over the last 2 1/2 weeks. They're at 66 with two games left. I'd like to see the Pirates with at least 72 wins entering September, which means splitting their 12 remaining games in the month; that would put them in good shape.

-- MWE
   14. Tom Nawrocki Posted: August 18, 2012 at 02:23 PM (#4211418)
The upstart Pirates are taking on the World Champion Cards this weekend with a one-game lead in the Wild Card. (It is up to two now.) This is very cool, although it doesn't seem like anyone cares.
   15. cardsfanboy Posted: August 18, 2012 at 02:50 PM (#4211439)
The upstart Pirates are taking on the World Champion Cards this weekend with a one-game lead in the Wild Card. (It is up to two now.) This is very cool, although it doesn't seem like anyone cares.


I care. I'm happy it's game of the week (I gave up my cable and don't get to see many games this year)
   16. CFBF Is A Golden Spider Duck Posted: August 18, 2012 at 03:05 PM (#4211449)
The Braves have Bourn, but he doesn't have the type of numbers you usually see for an MVP.


I think we all see where this going. The field has cleared for Chipper's miraculous run at a second MVP in his final year.
   17. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 18, 2012 at 03:15 PM (#4211453)
McCutchen is the best story (and most deserving!), so he'll win it easily.
   18. Walt Davis Posted: August 18, 2012 at 07:13 PM (#4211595)
If the Pirates make the playoffs, McCutchen wins in a landslide. If they don't, he still might win in a landslide. Posey is a real challenge if he carries the Giants and the Pirates drop out while McCutchen slumps a bit.

I am reasonably confident in saying that very little of this has to do with how Garrett Jones hits over the last 6 weeks. Obviously Jones hitting well helps the Pirates' chances at the playoffs but it could be Neil Walker instead. But, really, no matter how well Jones hits, teams will still "pitch around" McCutchen. And my usual line about protection holds double here if our concern is RBI for McCutchen -- you protect him by getting guys on base in front of him.
   19. God Posted: August 20, 2012 at 08:48 PM (#4213245)
I guess Kemp is pretty much out at this point? Brett did win in his injury-plagued 1980, but then he hit almost .400.

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