Blog Entry

Justin Verlander wins AL MVP

Posted on: November 21, 2011 2:01 pm
Edited on: November 21, 2011 5:04 pm
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By Matt Snyder


Tigers ace pitcher Justin Verlander had a historic season for several reasons, and you can now add MVP and Cy Young in the same season to the list. He won the American League MVP, the Baseball Writers Association of America announced Monday afternoon. Verlander becomes the first starting pitcher to win MVP since Roger Clemens took home the honors all the way back in 1986. This also marks the first time any pitcher has won since 1992, when A's closer Dennis Eckersley won. This marks the 10th time a pitcher has won both the MVP and Cy Young in the same season.

"Not even in my wildest dreams had I thought of this," Verlander said. "I want to say this is a dream come true. I can't say that because my dream had already had come true ... to win a Cy Young. And the next dream is to win a World Series. This wasn't even on my radar until the talk started. And then all of a sudden it was a this-could-actually-happen type of thing."

Verlander, 28, was clearly the best pitcher in baseball in 2011. He went 24-5 with a 2.40 ERA, 0.92 WHIP and 250 strikeouts in 251 innings. He had four complete games, two shutouts and one no-hitter. He led the American League in wins, winning percentage, starts, innings pitched, strikeouts, WHIP, ERA-plus and hits per nine innings.

Verlander racking up awards
The only real question as to whether or not Verlander would win the award was based upon his position. Pitchers only work once every fifth day, so many argued that they shouldn't be allowed to win an award that is traditionally given to players who are seen in the lineup every single game. But Verlander was so good it was tough to ignore. And he tied Jose Bautista with 8.5 wins above replacement, according to Baseball-Reference.com.

"I think that a starting pitcher has to do something special to be as valuable or more so than a position player," Verlander said. "Obviously, having the chance to play in 160-some games in the case of Miguel, they can obviously have a huge impact every day. That's why, I've talked about on my day, on a pitcher's day, the impact we have is tremendous on that game. So you have to have a great impact almost every time out to supersede (position players) and it happens on rare occasions, and I guess this year was one of those years."

This vote was probably the most intriguing of all the BBWAA votes this season because it felt wide open. Should pitchers be allowed to win? Can a player on a fourth-place team be considered valuable? Can a player on a team who had a historic collapse down the stretch win? There were arguments all over the place for the last six weeks of the season. Here's how the final vote stacked up, with the final points in parentheses:

1. Verlander (280)
2. Jacoby Ellsbury (242)
3. Bautista (231)
4. Curtis Granderson (215)
5. Miguel Cabrera (193)
6. Robinson Cano (112)
7. Adrian Gonzalez (105)
8. Michael Young (96)
9. Dustin Pedroia (48)
10. Evan Longoria (27)

In order: Ian Kinsler, Alex Avila, Paul Konerko, CC Sabathia, Adrian Beltre, Ben Zobrist, Victor Martinez, James Shields, Mark Teixeira, Asdrubal Cabrera, Alex Gordon, Josh Hamilton and David Robertson also received votes.

Verlander received 13 of the 28 first-place votes. Bautista got five, Ellsbury, four; Granderson, three; Miguel Cabrera, two and Young got one first-place vote. Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News gave Young his lone MVP vote.

One voter, Jim Ingraham of the Lake Herald News (Cleveland) completely left Verlander off the ballot. Via the Associated Press, here was Ingraham's rationale:

"I'd wrestled with this for a long time. If I was ever going to vote for pitcher for MVP, it would be him this year," Ingraham said. "He hasn't appeared in 79 percent of their games, any starting pitcher really doesn't appear in 79 percent of his team's games in a year.

"Would you vote for an NFL quarterback for MVP if he only appeared in three of his team's 16 games, which would 21 percent? So that's part of it. Another part of it is I think they're apples and oranges. The guys that are in there every day, there's a grind to a season that a starting pitcher doesn't, I don't think, experience the way the everyday position players do playing 150, 160 games."

Sheldon Ocker of the Akron Beacon Journal gave Verlander an eighth-place vote while both Chad Jennings of the Journal News (New York) and Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle voted him sixth.

Jacoby Ellsbury was hurt by a 10th place vote from Scot Gregor of the Arlington Heights Daily Herald (Chicago).

Other pitchers to win MVP and Cy Young in the same year were Don Newcombe (1956), Sandy Koufax (1963), Bob Gibson, Denny McLain (1968), Vida Blue (1971), Rollie Fingers (1981) and Willie Hernandez (1984).

This is the ninth time a Tigers player has won the MVP. The others: Mickey Cochrane (1934), Hank Greenberg (1935), Charlie Gehringer (1937), Greenberg (1940), Hal Newhouser (1944), Newhouser (1945), McLain (1968) and Hernandez (1984).

The National League MVP will be revealed Tuesday. It's likely to be either Ryan Braun or Matt Kemp, but a few others will factor heavily in the voting.

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Comments

Since: Aug 29, 2006
Posted on: November 22, 2011 6:56 am
 

Justin Verlander wins AL MVP

"I'd wrestled with this for a long time. If I was ever going to vote for pitcher for MVP, it would be him this year," Ingraham said. "He hasn't appeared in 79 percent of their games, any starting pitcher really doesn't appear in 79 percent of his team's games in a year.

"Would you vote for an NFL quarterback for MVP if he only appeared in three of his team's 16 games, which would 21 percent? So that's part of it. Another part of it is I think they're apples and oranges. The guys that are in there every day, there's a grind to a season that a starting pitcher doesn't, I don't think, experience the way the everyday position players do playing 150, 160 games."

Well, first of all Verlander doesn't play football.  But if he wants to quibble about numbers, he started over 20+ games.  A quarterback starts 16 games in a regular season and he normally doesn't get hit on every single down that he plays like a center would.  Mainly, these are two seperate sports and this writer should have based his vote with the mentality that baseball is the only sport out there.  Leave all the other sports out of the equation.  He's voting based on what every other sport would do....does that make him think baseball is irrelevent?

Brian8, none of us really know how Verlander would do in the East but he did well against them this year. I've seen other posters mention his stats against the East and he did well.  I think 5-2 or something close to that.  So, he'd still do well in the East.



Since: May 2, 2008
Posted on: November 22, 2011 6:36 am
 

Justin Verlander wins AL MVP

Right on jpl.  That argument for position players is way overblown. Verlander had a huge impact on the Tigers in games he didn't pitch also allowing the bullpen to be rested the next day after his start and of course the day of his start.  This is one of the biggest reasons for the Tigers successful season.  He also stopped a lot of losing streaks.  His record the game following a Tigers loss was remarkable.



Since: Dec 4, 2006
Posted on: November 22, 2011 5:09 am
 

Justin Verlander wins AL MVP

For all those naysayers that don't think that pitchers should be considered for MVP because they only pitch every 5th game or so, consider this.  While playing almost every game, a position player will bat about 600 times a season.   A quality pitcher like Verlander will face nearly 1,000 batters during a regular season, 1 and 2/3 times the average players plate appearance.  To eliminate a pitcher from consideration based solely on how many games they play is absurd.  

The fact is, the precedent has already been set for this argument.  The voters who ignored this fact just because they have a their own opinion should not be allowed to cast a vote.  Until the rules explicitly deny pitchers from competing for the MVP, pitchers like Verlander or Koufax or Clemens should not be denied because of individual opinions.

But it comes as no surprise, our society is full of anarchists even in the greatest game of all time. 



Since: Dec 4, 2006
Posted on: November 22, 2011 5:03 am
 

Justin Verlander wins AL MVP

For all those naysayers that don't think that pitchers should be considered for MVP because they only pitch every 5th game or so, consider this.  While playing almost every game, a position player will bat about 600 times a season.   A quality pitcher like Verlander will face nearly 1,000 batters during a regular season, 1 and 2/3 times the average players plate appearance.  To eliminate a pitcher from consideration based solely on how many games they play is absurd.  

The fact is, the precedent has already been set for this argument.  The voters who ignored this fact just because they have a their own opinion should not be allowed to cast a vote.  Until the rules explicitly deny pitchers from competing for the MVP, pitchers like Verlander or Koufax or Clemens should not be denied because of individual opinions.

But it comes of no surprise, our society is full of anarchists even in the greatest game of all time. 



Since: Dec 4, 2006
Posted on: November 22, 2011 5:01 am
 

Justin Verlander wins AL MVP

For all those naysayers that don't think that pitchers should be considered for MVP because they only pitch every 5th game or so, consider this.  While playing almost every game, a position player will bat about 600 times a season.   A quality pitcher like Verlander will face nearly 1,000 batters during a regular season, 1 and 2/3 times the average players plate appearance.  To eliminate a pitcher from consideration based solely on how many games they play is absurd.  

The fact is, the precedent has already been set for this argument.  The voters who ignored this fact just because they have a their own opinion should not be allowed to cast a vote.  Until the rules explicitly deny pitchers from competing for the MVP, pitchers like Verlander or Koufax or Clemens should not be denied because of individual opinions.

But it comes of no surprise, our society is full of anarchists even in the greatest game of all time. 









 



Since: Dec 4, 2006
Posted on: November 22, 2011 5:01 am
 

Justin Verlander wins AL MVP

For all those naysayers that don't think that pitchers should be considered for MVP because they only pitch every 5th game or so, consider this.  While playing almost every game, a position player will bat about 600 times a season.   A quality pitcher like Verlander will face nearly 1,000 batters during a regular season, 1 and 2/3 times the average players plate appearance.  To eliminate a pitcher from consideration based solely on how many games they play is absurd.  

The fact is, the precedent has already been set for this argument.  The voters who ignored this fact just because they have a their own opinion should not be allowed to cast a vote.  Until the rules explicitly deny pitchers from competing for the MVP, pitchers like Verlander or Koufax or Clemens should not be denied because of individual opinions.

But it comes of no surprise, our society is full of anarchists even in the greatest game of all time. 









 



Since: Jul 22, 2008
Posted on: November 22, 2011 2:29 am
 

Justin Verlander wins AL MVP

I've grown tired of the meta-argument surrounding the MVP award, I.e. who should be eligible to receive it.  I personally think that the MVP should go to the most valuable position player and the Cy Young should go to the most valuable pitcher.

That said, what matter more is consistency among the voters. The voters should receive explicit instructions to either consider pitchers for MVP or not - and perhaps some suggestions as to how to properly weight the achievements of a great starter or dominant reliever against a 40/130 slugger.

No more of this divide between voters who consider pitchers versus those who don't. That's worse the the DH/no-DH split!



brian8ball
Since: Aug 3, 2011
Posted on: November 22, 2011 1:26 am
This comment has been removed.

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brian8ball
Since: Aug 3, 2011
Posted on: November 22, 2011 1:09 am
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator




Since: Jan 7, 2009
Posted on: November 21, 2011 11:54 pm
 

Justin Verlander wins AL MVP

I have a very hard time voting a pitcher MVP. Justin won 24 games, started what, about 35? Compared to everyday players who usually play 150-160 games. They are only impacting a very small percentage of the total games. Don't get me wrong, I think Verlander is a great pitcher. But doesn't baseball already reward the best pitcher in baseball? It's called the Cy Young Award.
Everyday players impact every game they participate in. What exactly does a starting pitcher do with 137 other games that he's not in? I saw Steve Carlton have possibly the best season a starting pitcher ever had when he won the Cy Young with the Phillies. His exact record escapes me, something like 27-5 for a team that won less than 60 games. That was a pitching performance for the ages. As great a season as he had, they didn't give the MVP to him, and not one person questioned it.


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