Pittsburgh Pirates: Ranking the Team’s Eight MVP Seasons

PITTSBURGH, PA - MARCH 31: Former Pirate MVPs Dick Groat and Barry Bonds stand with 2013 National League MVP Andrew McCutchen #22 of the Pittsburgh Pirates during Opening Day at PNC Park on March 31, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - MARCH 31: Former Pirate MVPs Dick Groat and Barry Bonds stand with 2013 National League MVP Andrew McCutchen #22 of the Pittsburgh Pirates during Opening Day at PNC Park on March 31, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /
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PITTSBURGH, PA – OCTOBER 01: Andrew McCutchen #22 of the Pittsburgh Pirates hits a single in the sixth inning against the Cincinnati Reds during the National League Wild Card game at PNC Park on October 1, 2013 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA – OCTOBER 01: Andrew McCutchen #22 of the Pittsburgh Pirates hits a single in the sixth inning against the Cincinnati Reds during the National League Wild Card game at PNC Park on October 1, 2013 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images) /

2013 National League MVP – Andrew McCutchen

2013 was a magical year for Pittsburgh Pirates fans, and one that will go down in the franchise’s history as one of the most memorable seasons ever. Not only did they break their 20 year curse of failing to reach .500 and not reaching the postseason, the Pittsburgh Pirates also got an MVP-caliber season from the best center fielder in franchise history, Andrew McCutchen.

That year, the center fielder put up a .317/.404/.508 line with 21 home runs in 674 plate appearances. Pitchers hated facing Cutch as he only struck out 15% of the time and walked in 11.6% of plate appearances. McCutchen was not just a threat in the batter’s box with a 157 OPS+, 156 wRC+ and .383 wOBA, but he was also a threat on the base paths. Cutch stole 27 bags in 37 attempts and had 6.4 base running runs above average.

Defensively, he wasn’t the best in the league, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t good. He still posted above average numbers with a +3 DRS, 3.2 UZR, 7 total zone runs, 2.2 range runs above average, and 1.6 arm runs above average.

Unlike the other names we’ve talked about, McCutchen in 2013 was undoubtedly the MVP. Cutch, Mike Trout and Shin-Soo Choo were the only three players in baseball to have at least 20 home runs and stolen bases, and a 150+ wRC+. He was top three in the National League in wRC+ and OPS+. His 8.1 fWAR outranked rival Cardinals’ catcher Yadier Molina who had a 7.8 fWAR, and was only outdone in fWAR by Trout (10.2) and Miguel Cabrera (8.6) in all of baseball.