Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen has been named the Most Valuable Player in the National League for 2013. He beat out fellow finalists Paul Goldschmidt and Yadier Molina to capture the league's top individual award for the first time.
MLB had the announcement:
Steve Berthiaume provided the voting results:
McCutchen earned the honor by hitting .317 with an on-base percentage of .404 while slugging 21 home runs and stealing 27 bases. He was the main driving force in the Pirates' lineup and helped carry the team to its first playoff appearance since 1992.
The 27-year-old outfielder adds the MVP Award to a growing list of accomplishments, which also includes a trio of All-Star selections, a pair of Silver Slugger Awards and a Gold Glove.
Although the MVP race in the National League was one of the toughest to handicap, McCutchen is a worthy winner. He had the most complete résumé after his best season to date.
Goldschmidt of the Arizona Diamondbacks had the best overall offensive numbers. The first baseman hit .302 with 36 home runs, 36 doubles and 15 stolen bases. He also drove in 125 runs and scored 103 more.
The rising star's biggest issue was his team's finish. Arizona ended the regular season with an 81-81 record, which left the team 11 games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West.
Molina is a perennial contender for the award because he does so many things to help the St. Louis Cardinals win. He's terrific defensively, handles the pitching staff extremely well and is also a solid hitter.
The lack of monster offensive numbers probably held him back in this year's race, though. Aside from his .319 average, his stats failed to jump off the page with just 12 homers and a .359 OBP. That was not quite enough to overcome McCutchen despite the catcher's other key contributions.
McCutchen performed very well at the plate, continued to make positive strides in the field and his team qualified for the postseason. That trio of factors allowed him to edge out Goldschmidt and Molina to capture the coveted award.
Looking ahead, there's likely a lot more hardware on the horizon for the Pirates star.