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Justin Verlander wins AL MVP

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

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

"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.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Since: Nov 2, 2007
Posted on: November 21, 2011 8:32 pm

Justin Verlander wins AL MVP

Jacoby elsbury led the al in war  his war was 9.3 verlander 7.0 30+hr 30+sb 100+rbi (as a leadoff hitter) 100+r and a gold glove, it doesn't suprise me that he finished second.

Since: Sep 22, 2008
Posted on: November 21, 2011 7:52 pm

Justin Verlander wins AL MVP

How did jacoby ellsbury collect so many votes?  just another slap hitter. has to be the bias east coast media, needing have a BOS or NYY player in top five. go figure.



He ususally has a slap hitter homer total but this year it was 32.  Is it that hard of a challenge to look up stats?

Since: Sep 8, 2006
Posted on: November 21, 2011 7:51 pm

Justin Verlander wins AL MVP

I would be ecstatic if the Red Sox traded Jacoby Ellsbury for Justin Verlander straight up but the Tigers would never do that because Verlander is the Most Valuable Player in the American League. 

Since: Aug 3, 2011
Posted on: November 21, 2011 7:36 pm
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Since: Aug 22, 2007
Posted on: November 21, 2011 7:33 pm

Indians fan...

Tigers still suck but Verlander was brilliant.

Since: Nov 21, 2011
Posted on: November 21, 2011 7:31 pm

Justin Verlander wins AL MVP

I get it. Verlander had a great year. An amazing year. But my opinion is there should only be one MVP for pitchers and one MVP for position players. Taking Verlander out of the equation, I think it would have been a really tight race. Ellesbury, Granderson, Cabrera. Of course, my pick would have been Bautista. Just because the jays did not make the play-offs, should not mean that he was the number one choice for MVP. I guess if he was playing on the Yankees or Red Sox then a lot of you would think different. Do you know how hard it is to win a play-off spot with those two teams in your division. And let's not forget about the Rays. Without question, the toughest division in ALL of baseball. I would have chosen him not just because of what he did on the field, but what he does off the field as well. There were a lot of rookies this year on the Blue Jays. And who do you think they looked up to and asked questions to. He was like a playing coach this year for his team. That is an MVP.

Since: Apr 1, 2008
Posted on: November 21, 2011 7:27 pm

Justin Verlander wins AL MVP

Well since the Tigers won the "WEAKEST DIVISION " in baseball by 15 games,
he could have went 11 and 19 and they still make the PLAYOFFS.
Says the Yankees fan! LOL! 

Since: Sep 1, 2007
Posted on: November 21, 2011 7:26 pm

Justin Verlander wins AL MVP

To the guy that brought playoffs...the MVP award is based solely on the regular season.  
To the guy that thinks pitchers shouldn't win...well they CAN. So since they are eligible JV should win hands down based on the fact that he dominated every category. He led in 5 major categories, ERA, WINS, IP, WHIP and K's.   Thats the equivilent of a batter winning the triple crown, plus stolen bases and runs. If they want to give seperate awards for hitters and pitchers fine but as of now this award is for everybody.
To the guy that says he got 15 of his wins against his own division.....don't most pitchers?  You play your own division more than anyone, all players put up the most stats vs their own division.
To the guy that thinks JV wouldnt have put up those numbers in the AL east.   2 things, the Tigers had winning records vs the Yankees and Rays and knocked the Yankees out.   Furthermore,  if that is your argument you would have to take into account what kind of teams,  and what quality of pitcher the hitter accumilated the majority of his stats.  I bet if a guy hits 50 home runs he's not hitting (many of) those off the top pitchers in the league.  He's racking them up off #5 starters. Think about it....pitchers face the teams best lineup pretty much every time on the mound. Hitters face #4 and #5 starters every 5th day respectively. 


Since: Dec 30, 2007
Posted on: November 21, 2011 7:19 pm

Justin Verlander wins AL MVP

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

Since: Aug 3, 2011
Posted on: November 21, 2011 7:09 pm
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