Jared Wickerham/Getty Images
2013 Stats: 157 G, .317/.404/.508, 185 H, 38 2B, 5 3B, 21 HR, 84 RBI, 27 SB, 78 BB, 101 K, 296 TB, 158 OPS+
Sometimes you can't help but get excited when the narrative and performance line up for a player like Andrew McCutchen to win a prestigious award. That's not to take away from Paul Goldschmidt or Yadier Molina, both fantastic players in their own right.
But for McCutchen, who was quick to sign a long-term extension with Pittsburgh when the Pirates were a doormat and has developed into a superstar for the franchise, it will be hard not to cheer if voters award him the NL MVP trophy.
McCutchen being in the .300/.400/.500 club this year makes him more valuable than Goldschmidt because of the position he plays. The offensive bar for a center fielder is much lower than for a first baseman.
McCutchen was also one of two players, along with Mike Trout, with at least 30 doubles, five triples, 20 home runs and 25 stolen bases. His 5.1 baserunning runs added ranked seventh in the NL.
This was McCutchen's best year defensively. He was credited with seven defensive runs saved and a 6.9 ultimate zone rating. His 8.2 fWAR was tops in the league, more than half a win better than Carlos Gomez.
A lot of things went right for the Pirates in 2013, but nothing more than the evolution of McCutchen from superstar to MVP.