Pittsburgh Pirates: Revisiting Andrew McCutchen’s 2014 Season

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Andrew McCutchen won the National League MVP in 2013. However, this was not his best season as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Andrew McCutchen will forever be remembered as one of the best and most popular players in Pittsburgh Pirates history. McCutchen debuted in June 2009, and immediately became the face of the franchise.

Cutch would help lead the Pittsburgh Pirates to their first winning season, and postseason berth, in 20 seasons during the 2013 campaign. He helped to guide the Bucs to the postseason each of the following two seasons as well. This included the 2015 Pirates, a team that won 98 games and was one of the best teams in franchise history.

On a personal note, McCutchen accomplished a lot as well. Cutch was a five-time All-Star, four-time Silver Slugger Award winner, he won a Gold Glove in 2012, the Roberto Clemente Award in 2015, and was named the National League MVP in 2013. When his playing career ends, his number 22 will be retired by the Pittsburgh Pirates franchise.

While McCutchen was the NL MVP in 2013, this was not his best season in black and gold. That would come the following season when he terrorized opposing pitchers throughout the 2014 campaign.

In 2014 McCutchen hit for a .314/.410/.542 slash line. His wRC+ was a NL best 168, wOBA was (ironically enough) .412, and he posted a .228 ISO. His OBP, wRC+, wOBA, and ISO were all career bests. His 12.7% extra base hit rate and 40.5% hard contact rate were also career highs. In addition to leading all of the NL in wRC+ that season, McCutchen also led the league in OBP, extra base hits (69), and OPS (.952). His slugging percentage and total bases (297) were both second in the league.

He would go on to finish 3rd in the NL MVP voting. Although, he was even more deserving of the NL MVP Award than he was when he won the award in 2013. McCutchen should have won the NL MVP Award again in 2014.

The most impressive part of McCutchen’s 2014 campaign is that he had the season that he did despite spending time on the disabled list after the Arizona Diamondbacks intentionally hit McCutchen with a pitch in the 9th inning of a blow out in August.

Due to his DL stint, McCutchen was limited to 146 games that season. His 7.4 fWAR that season comes out to an fWAR of 8.3 over the course of a full season, this also would have been a career high for Cutch.

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McCutchen’s absence likely also cost the Pirates a NL Central Championship in 2014. The division came down to the final day of the season with the St. Louis Cardinals edging out the Pirates, thus sending the Pirates to the NL Wild Card Game.

In that game, the Bucs ran into the buzz saw that was 2014 postseason Madison Bumgarner. On that night, no one was going to beat Mad Bum. Had McCutchen not gotten injured then the Pirates likely would have won the extra game or two needed to win the division crown, thus allowing them to skip the NL Wild Card Game and the Mad Bum buzz saw in a one game playoff. Had this happened, who knows how the 2014 season may have ended for the Pittsburgh Pirates. After all, they did enter the postseason as hot as any team in baseball, and, often times, when it comes to the postseason it’s all about the teams that get hot at the right time.

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