ST. LOUIS — We won’t find out until Nov. 14 if Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina will be named the NL Most Valuable Player. But we already know that Molina will finish higher in the voting than he did in 2012.
Molina, who came in fourth last year, is assured of finishing no lower than third this time around after he was named one of three finalists for the award Tuesday night. Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen and Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt also were named finalists.
A couple of Cardinals starters, Adam Wainwright and rookie Shelby Miller, made the final three in voting for NL Cy Young and Rookie of the Year, respectively.
Based on statistics, Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw is expected to be a runaway winner for the Cy Young, while Marlins right-hander Jose Fernandez should take home Rookie of the Year.
The MVP is more difficult to call. McCutchen actually put up better numbers a year ago when he placed third in MVP voting but was expected to gain plenty of sentimental support for helping the Pirates reach the postseason and end a run of 21 consecutive losing seasons.
Goldschmidt tied for the NL lead in homers (36) and finished first in RBIs (125) while hitting .302/.401/.551. He figures to be hurt in the voting by the performance of his team, which fell out of contention early on the way to an 81-81 record.
All Molina did was hit a career-best .319 with a career-most 80 RBIs and provide the defensive foundation on the NL pennant winners. Molina, however, will be hurt in voting for this award until baseball comes up with a statistic to measure intangibles. At least he’s assured of finishing higher in the voting than he did in any of his first nine seasons.
Voting by members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America was turned in at the end of the regular season. The schedule for next week’s announcements: Rookie of the Years on Monday, Managers of the Year on Tuesday, Cy Youngs on Wednesday, MVPs on Thursday.
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