Cutch or Tulo: Who's the better MVP candidate?
Andrew McCutchen is building upon his MVP-winning 2013 season by terrifying pitchers like no Pirates outfielder since Barry Bonds. Troy Tulowitzki, finally healthy, is channeling Honus Wagner while dwarfing his shortstop peers. But who's the better MVP candidate in 2014?
McCutchen might have the edge, considering voters often pick a player from a contender, and the Pirates have a shot at the playoffs (34.1 percent, according to Fangraphs) — unlike Colorado (0.1 percent). But if you think the best player should win regardless, it's a close call. Here's a closer look at how McCutchen and Tulowitzki compare with the bat, on the bases and in the field:
Offense: Tulowitzki's raw stats are inflated by Coors Field, which increases offense by 36 percent compared to a neutral venue, according to ESPN's park factors. PNC Park is boosting offense by 6 percent. Once you adjust for the Coors effect, McCutchen boasts a higher on-base plus slugging percentage (79 percent above average) than Tulowitzki (75 percent above average).
Base running: McCutchen clearly holds the edge, going 15 for 15 in steals and taking extra bases at a 42 percent clip that bests the MLB average (41 percent). Tulowitzki is 1 for 2 in steals and is taking extra bases 25 percent. McCutchen's base running has added two runs of value compared to an average player, and Tulowitzki's has subtracted two.
Defense: This could be a deciding factor. Tulowitzki's glove has saved 3.5 runs compared to an average fielder at his position, according to Fangraphs' Ultimate Zone Rating. McCutchen, by contrast, has cost the Bucs 10.4 runs compared to an average center fielder.
When you add up the offensive, defensive and base running value of these up-the-middle stars, Tulowitzki holds a slight edge. Tulowitzki and McCutchen rank first and second, respectively, in wins above replacement (WAR) among NL players.
Player Team WAR
Troy Tulowitzki Rockies 5.2
Andrew McCutchen Pirates 4.6
Carlos Gomez Brewers 4.3
Giancarlo Stanton Marlins 3.8
Todd Frazier Reds 3.7
David Golebiewski is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pirates notebook: Tabata rediscovering his power
- Lincoln tries to rejuvenate career in second stint with Pirates
- Rossi: Pirates better with Maz on scene
- Pirates willing to consider high salary to keep star McCutchen
- Pirates notebook: Team has big plans for newcomer Kang
- Pirates notebook: Mercer gains celebrity in Kang’s home country
- Pirates notebook: Nutting expects club to win division title
- Pirates notebook: Reliever Bastardo excited about new start
- Pirates looking at ways to make McCutchen’s off days more productive
- North Side start-up takes swing at mapping hitters
- The Starting Nine: Silver linings for Alvarez