Players like Yadier Molina, Miguel Cabrera and Andrew McCutchen deserve extensive consideration regarding the 2013 NL and AL MVP not only because of their numbers, but because of the impact their leadership has made on their respective teams making the playoffs.
In the American League, Miguel Cabrera, Chris Davis and Mike Trout all had stellar seasons composed of impressive home run hitting, batting average and RBI’s.
– Cabrera: .348 AVG. 44 home runs and 137 RBI’s
– Davis: .286 AVG. 53 home runs and 138 RBI’s
– Trout: .323 AVG. 27 home runs and 97 RBI’s
Davis had 37 home runs before the all-star break (some believed he could reach 61) and led the American League in home runs and RBI’s for 2013; yet he only hit 16 home runs the remaining two and a half months of the season with less than 50 RBI’s and a depreciating batting average of over 100 points. Davis was clearly less consistent at the plate for the second half of the season.
Trout’s numbers are impressive as well, but he didn’t even make the top five in both home runs and RBI’s in the American League, while the Angels finished below .500.
On the other hand, Miguel Cabrera was pleading his case for a second consecutive triple crown this year, leading the AL in batting average, and finishing second behind Davis in both home runs and RBI’s. Despite battling injuries for the last month, Cabrera projected his leadership, poise and determination to help his team win by continuing to play, finishing the season with a .348 batting average. By the way, the Tigers won their third consecutive division title while making the ALCS for the third straight year.
In the National League, Yadier Molina and Andrew McCutchen seemingly had the biggest impact on their teams.
Throughout the 2013 season, Molina was the man behind the plate that led the pitching staff to be the best in baseball; pitcher’s were following his calls, rarely shaking him off.
“Whatever he calls, I throw. I have all the trust in the world in him. All of us trust him,” said 22-year-old right-hander Shelby Miller.
Molina’s leadership skills and ability to guide pitchers to wins is merely a backup to his on-field performance: leading the Cardinals with a .319 batting average, throwing out runners stealing 44% of the time and picking off over 40 baserunners (double the amount than the previous record), not to mention a sixth straight Gold Glove Award.
The Cardinals would make the playoffs for the third straight year with the best record in the National League.
McCutchen, another candidate for the NL MVP, led the Pirates with a .317 batting average, but was not among the top five for BA, HR or RBI’s in the NL. In addition, his performance in centerfield is admirable: a .982 fielding percentage over 155 games, but was not among the top 10 NL outfielders.
However, McCutchen has become the face of the Pittsburgh franchise over the last three or four years with a consistent batting average, home run and RBI total. The Pirates had their first winning season after 20 years of misery and the players look up to McCutchen to lead them through difficult times.
“He’s definitely one of those guys you can count on. You know what you’re going to get every day. He’s the same guy whether we win or lose. Without him, our club is not even close to where it’s at right now,” said Pittsburgh teammate Mark Melancon.
Players clearly deserve credit for putting up high numbers each year, but the impact of their performance on their teammates and the season should be a big contributing factor when making decisions on the MVP.