Blog Entry

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 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
da55bums
Since: Apr 5, 2011
Posted on: November 22, 2011 11:22 pm
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brian8ball
Since: Aug 3, 2011
Posted on: November 22, 2011 10:17 pm
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brian8ball
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Posted on: November 22, 2011 10:07 pm
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brian8ball
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brian8ball
Since: Aug 3, 2011
Posted on: November 22, 2011 9:38 pm
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Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: November 22, 2011 9:25 pm
 

Justin Verlander wins AL MVP

Bottom line Pitchers have an award and hitters can't win the Cy Young.

Hitters have their own award too, it's called the silver slugger award that Gonzalez won this year. 

I'm shocked at how so many so called baseball fans keep saying pitchers have their own award, but for some reason don't know or understand the hitters do as well.

It's baffling to say the least. 



Since: Jul 26, 2011
Posted on: November 22, 2011 8:38 pm
 

Justin Verlander wins AL MVP

For those of us who have been following Baseball for the past many decades, it is no joke.  Justin Verlander had an outstanding year.  He is not a Koufax or Gibson.  He does not play 162 games a year and there are at least two other pitchers per his starts who help him finish.  Yeah there are 8 other hitters on a team and yes the pitcher can determine the outcome of the game.  Don't forget that it takes runs to win and if a team doesn't score, it doesn't win i.e the Los Angeles Dodgers.  You think that if the Dodgers had been in the running, Kemp wouldn't have won?  There must be a small amount of politics or at least "popularity" that comes into play.  Bottom line Pitchers have an award and hitters can't win the Cy Young.  Not all wrtiters and players voted Verlander in, a majority but not all.  How about somebody come up with a tangible stat that we grade all players equally.  Compare WHIP to on base Percentage/Batting Average.  (ps-From the west a Boston...Bruins Fan)



Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: November 22, 2011 7:21 pm
 

Justin Verlander wins AL MVP

Pointshaver, The Tigers would have still won the division without Verlander.  Maybe there wasn't a stand out offensive player this year but in my opinion I have a hard time giving the award to a guy who only plays in about 30 games.  Just my opinion

I still find it funny that although the writers AND the PLAYERS Verlander as the MVP of the league,  fans of opposing teams don't like the decision. Fans want an award that's been around forever to be re-named to "move valuable hitter"  or to basically remove pitchers from the roster and no longer call them "players".

What a joke... 



Since: Mar 9, 2008
Posted on: November 22, 2011 6:43 pm
 

Justin Verlander wins AL MVP

Pointshaver, The Tigers would have still won the division without Verlander.  Maybe there wasn't a stand out offensive player this year but in my opinion I have a hard time giving the award to a guy who only plays in about 30 games.  Just my opinion



Since: Sep 5, 2011
Posted on: November 22, 2011 4:40 pm
 

Justin Verlander wins AL MVP

@ gator one question did ellsbury help his team go to the playoffs? NOOOOOO if any of the batters on the list should get it first it should be granderson because he helped his team to the playoffs. yes bautisa and ellsbury had awesome years but didnt help thier team win. i can see ellsbury or bautista getting the silver slugger award but not the MVP. Helping your team to the playoffs to me is important in voting for the MVP


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