September 25, 2012; New York, NY, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen (22) hits a double during the first inning of a game against the New York Mets at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-US PRESSWIRE

Andrew McCutchen given top NL honor by fellow players

It’s doubtful that Pittsburgh Pirates centerfielder Andrew McCutchen will walk away with the National League’s most valuable player award, but Cutch did receive another top honor, this time from his peers.

McCutchen was recognized by his peers on Monday night with National League Outstanding Player honors, an award voted on by the players.

October 2, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen (22) reacts after being called out on strikes by home plate umpire Bill Welke (right) against the Atlanta Braves during the seventh inning at PNC Park. The Pittsburgh Pirates won 5-1. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

The Players Choice Awards have been handed out since 1992 — coincidentally, the most recent season the Bucs have ended with a record over .500. That’s something McCutchen came close to putting an end to as he put the Pirates on his back for most of the season.

“It means a lot just to have this recognition,” McCutchen said upon being announced as the award’s recipient on MLB Network. “For the guys you play against every single day to recognize what I’ve done, it’s a great honor.”

McCutchen was also a finalist for the MLBPA’s top prize, Player of the Year, which went to Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera, the choice as AL Outstanding Player.

The award is recognition for McCutchen’s quick breakthrough into superstardom. At 25 and in only his third full big league season, McCutchen reached career-highs with 31 homers and 96 RBIs, while also earning his first Gold Glove Award for defensive excellence. He also led the league with 194 hits, while finishing runner-up in the batting race to Buster Posey with a .327 average.

Those numbers are even more impressive considering the drop-off during the season’s final two months for McCutchen, who was batting .372 on Aug. 7, with 23 homers and 69 RBIs in 81 games, and only hit .240 over his final 52 games.

All Players Choice Awards come with a cash grant of $20,000 toward a charitable organization of the winner’s choice. McCutchen did not designate a recipient, but said he would present it to a Pittsburgh charity.

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