Pirates' McCutchen 3rd in MVP voting; Posey wins

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Buster Posey's great year got better Thursday night.

Posey, the San Francisco Giants catcher, won the National League Most Valuable Player Award, adding recognition to a season in which he also won a World Series ring. Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen finished third in the voting by the Baseball Writers Association of America.

"The reaction was, it was a lot of happiness," Posey said on a conference call with reporters. "This is an award that can be shared with the whole Giants organization.

"I think I've been fortunate since I've been here to play with some really good players and play on some really good teams."

Posey received 27 of a possible 32 first-place votes. McCutchen finished behind Posey and Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun, who received three first-place votes. St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina received two first-place votes. Posey had 422 total points, Braun 285 and McCutchen, who did not receive a first-place vote, had 245.

"It was an honor just to be nominated for National League MVP this season along with some of MLB's best players," McCutchen said in a statement. "I want to congratulate Buster Posey on an amazing season."

Posey, Braun and McCutchen were the only players named on every ballot.

Posey, 25, won the NL batting title -- due to a rule change requested by teammate and former batting leader Melky Cabrera, who served a suspension this season for a positive drug test -- with a .336 average and hit 24 home runs. His on-base-plus-slugging percentage (OPS), when adjusted for ballpark and league effects, was the best in the league and 72 percent better than the league average.

Posey, the 2010 NL rookie of the year, joined Ernie Lombardi as the only NL catchers to win batting titles. He became the first catcher to win the MVP since Cincinnati's Johnny Bench in 1972.

"I think anybody that has caught before understands the grind of catching, not only the physical wear and tear of squatting for nine innings," Posey said.

"Just the mental grind of working with pitching staffs, it's demanding. There's been some good ones in there [before me] that I'm sure are deserving as well."

McCutchen, 26, hit .327 with 31 home runs, a .400 on-base percentage and .553 slugging percentage, by far the best season of his four-year major league career.

He was named the NL player of the month in June and July, but a poor second half lowered his season totals.

"I believe that being an MVP finalist shows true improvement both from myself and the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, and that we are moving in the right direction," McCutchen said.

No Pirate has won the MVP since Barry Bonds won for the second time in '92.

The MVP was McCutchen's to lose by midseason. He had a .373 batting average Aug. 3, a mark he reached by hitting .446 in July.

He also had a .433 on-base percentage and 22 home runs at that point.

His power declined in August, and he struck out more often in August and September.

McCutchen hit .252 in August, .254 in September and finished behind Posey in the race for the batting title.

"Media members, players and fans alike are beginning to notice this progress as well," McCutchen said. "I am motivated to continue to work hard and I'm already looking forward to the 2013 season."

Braun, the 2011 MVP, hit .319 with a .595 slugging percentage and a league-leading .987 OPS. He also hit 41 home runs and stole 30 bases.

Molina finished fourth. San Diego Padres third baseman Chase Headley fifth, followed by New York Mets third baseman David Wright and Washington Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche, a former Pirate.

The race for the American League MVP was equally lopsided, though it generated more dissension before the announcement.

Detroit Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera, who won the Triple Crown by leading the league in batting average, home runs and RBIs, won the award, defeating AL rookie of the year Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels.

Cabrera had a .330 average, hit 44 homers and delivered 139 RBIs to became the first Triple Crown-winner since Boston Red Sox outfielder Carl Yastrzemski in '67.

He received 22 of 28 first-place votes.

Trout, a 21-year-old outfielder, did not spend the full season in the majors but hit .326 with 30 home runs and a .564 slugging percentage.

He also stole 49 bases in 54 attempts, played superb defense and had a .399 on-base percentage.

Trout received 281 points to Cabrera's 362 and became the first rookie to finish second in the MVP voting.

Texas Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre finished third, followed by New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano and Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton.

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Bill Brink: bbrink@post-gazette.com and Twitter @BrinkPG.


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