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McCutchen has walked 51 times this year which is good enough for fourth in the NL.
Despite being from Pittsburgh, I don't think it's too far fetched to have the leader of the greatest story in baseball this year as my #4 leading candidate for the NL MVP.
The Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen is as gifted of an athlete as there is in the majors today. There hasn't been a five-tool player like him in Pittsburgh since Barry Bonds. He leads the team in home runs with 14, runs (54), stolen bases (15), and average (.282*). They're respectable numbers on the surface, yes, but do you really know how valuable McCutchen is to this Pirates team?
By turning to sabermetrics, you find that McCutchen has a WAR rating of 5.2. WAR, or wins above replacements, takes into account everything a player does, offensively and defensively. What the number represents is how many wins the team is losing when they have to replace Player X.**
A large reason why I have McCutchen so high is because of his value to the Cinderella story that is the 2011 Pittsburgh Pirates. Having tasted what it was like to be in first place, albeit a brief time, McCutchen is spearheading one of the most exciting seasons in recent Pittsburgh baseball history.
*Among qualified players.
**Fan Graphs glossary definition of WAR here.