Andrew McCutchen: How Does His MVP-Caliber Season Compare to 1992 Barry Bonds?
The last time the Pittsburgh Pirates had a viable candidate to take home the National League MVP was 20 years ago.
Barry Bonds was already well established alienating himself from the media, but the man was also well on his way to his second of seven career NL MVP awards.
Regardless of how you view Bonds today, the man was an absolute menace for opposing pitchers in the 1990s.
He brought forth a combination of speed and power that showcased his natural ability.
A true five-tool player, Bonds was changing how the game would be played post-steroid era, without even knowing it.
These days, teams have an insatiable desire to have players as Bonds was in 1992, strong, fast and loaded with natural talent and instincts.
That year a 27-year-old Bonds would finish the season leading the NL in six categories, ranking highly in most other major statistical categories.
Bonds batted .311 that year, seventh overall in the NL. Gary Sheffield led the league for the San Diego Padres with a .330 average that season and Bonds' teammate, Andy Van Slyke, would finish with a higher average as well, at .324, second in the NL.
He led the league in OBP, SLG and OPS with .456/.624/1.080, respectively. His OPS-plus was an eye popping 204.
Bonds would also lead the league in runs (109), as well as walks (127) and intentional walks (32.)
His 147 hits in 1992 would only land him 28th in the NL. But his 36 doubles tied him for ninth in the NL, while adding six triples and blasting 34 home runs was second only to Fred McGriff, who played for the San Diego Padres that season.
Adding 103 RBI (fourth in the NL) rounded out the offensive attack for Bonds that season.
Fast forward 20 years.
The Pirates have been an organization that has not seen success since that same 1992 season.
In fact, they've never been over .500 in the win column since then. That is, until now, in the Andrew McCutchen era.
Now 114 games into the 2012 season and the Bucs find themselves 14 games over .500 with a 64-50 record, fully engaged in the playoff picture.
Thanks in no small part should be given to the team's MVP, 25-year-old Andrew McCutchen, a player two years younger than Bonds was for his last MVP in Pittsburgh.
Cutch has been phenomenal for the Pirates this year. He is leading the NL in batting with a .362 average, .609 slugging and 185 OPS-plus to date.
He is tied for 10th in the NL in RBI with 71. His .422 OBP is second only to the injured Joey Votto of the Cincinnati Reds, as is his 1.030 OPS.
In addition to the offensive numbers, Cutch has added 14 stolen bases. While Bonds had 39 in 1992, Cutch has shown that he has speed on the basepaths. However, both men were caught eight times. Clearly Bonds has more insight and speed on the bags.
The comparisons are there to be made. McCutchen is easily the best player Pittsburgh has seen in two decades.
All McCutchen needs to do now is bring home a Gold Glove and Silvery Slugger Award this season and the similarities will be more pronounced.
At the end of the day, McCutchen is the embodiment of what every team longs for in a ball player these days. He's fast, strong and savvy with great instincts and a solid glove.
Everything fans thought Barry Bonds used to be.
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