The Baseball Writers Association of America has named Andrew McCutchen the National League MVP for the 2013 season. The award for McCutchen is expected, as he was a heavy favorite to win. The other finalists were Paul Goldschmidt of the Arizona Diamondbacks, and Yadier Molina of the St. Louis Cardinals. McCutchen received 28 of 30 first place votes.
McCutchen had an amazing season, posting an 8.2 WAR. That was the best mark in the National League and the second best in baseball. It was also the 8th best single-season WAR in the last five years. His .911 OPS was ranked 10th in all of baseball, and sixth of all qualified players in the National League. He was one of eight players in baseball with 20+ home runs and 20+ stolen bases this year.
McCutchen actually saw his offensive numbers drop. His average was down ten points from 2012, although his OPS was up four points, which was a result of a higher walk rate (11.6% compared to 10.4%). His strikeout rate dropped to 15%, down from 19.6% last year. His slugging percentage was down from .553 to .508, with his isolated power dropping from .226 to .190.
The offense dropped slightly, but McCutchen was a more valuable player in 2013 than he was in 2012. The reason for this was his improved defense. McCutchen’s defensive metrics were poor last year, with a -8.6 UZR/150. This year he had much better numbers, with an 8.4 UZR/150. So even though his offense dropped slightly, McCutchen more than made up for that with defensive improvements.