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

"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: May 29, 2009
Posted on: November 22, 2011 11:32 am

Justin Verlander wins AL MVP

 .321 39 hrs, 105 rbis, and 39 stolen bases. Im pretty sure in the year of the pitcher those are some MVP numbers.
In the year of the pitcher???  Since when did 2011 become the year of the pitcher?  There was 42 players with at least 25 homeruns.  There was 33 players with at least 91 rbi's.  There was 44 players who hit at least .290.

How did 2011 become the year of the pitcher?  It just so happens that the AL didn't have a clear cut MVP so the votes were spread out over multiple players and one pitcher had an amazing year.  That is how you end up with a pitcher winning the MVP.

If what Ellsbury did was mvp type numbers -- what is it when a guy leads the MLB in Batting Avg at .344, leads the MLB in doubles with 48, leads the MLB OBP at .449 and is one of only two players with an OPS over 1.000??  Throw in 30 hrs, 100+ rbis, 110+ runs scored and 110+ walks, as well as hitting over .400 the last two months of the season as his team pulled away from the Central Division, while teams were trying to pitch around him? 

I'll tell you what that got Cabrera -- not even the Silver Slugger for 1st Base.  If you want to bitch about an award going to the wrong guy -- Ask how Adrian Gonzalez won the SS over Cabrera.  LOL 

Since: May 29, 2009
Posted on: November 22, 2011 11:20 am

Justin Verlander wins AL MVP

Like I have said I respect what you have to say but all you do is repeat the same things over and over again.I hope you realize that you seem HYPOCRITICAL when you go on and on about Verlanders numbers yet you would have VOTED for Cabrera.Lets face FACTS,
The Tigers ran away with that division and Verlander could have gone 11-19 and the Tigers still make the playoffs.And more than 1/2 his wins came against horrible teams.

So just for once try to see an objective POINT OF VEIW.
Here is my problem with saying Verlander could have went 11-19 and Detroit would have still made the playoffs.

If it wasn't for Verlander, Detroit wouldn't have been in the playoff race at the trade deadline, therefore Detroit wouldn't have been buyers and wouldn't have picked up Delmon Young and Doug Fister.

If Detroit wasn't in 1st place -- NO ONE knows what the other teams in the AL Central would have done at the trade deadline or who they would have went out and got to help them out.

As I have stated -- prior to trade deadline -- Detroit was in 1st place -- the Tigers 2-5 starters had a record UNDER .500 and an ERA close to 5.00.  If Verlander would have went 11-19 this year -- what do you think the Tigers record would have been at the trade deadline???  Roughly 6-7 games UNDER .500, instead of leading the AL Central.  Therefore Detroit wouldn't have been trading away 4 players to get Fister and also trading for Delmon Young.

And as I have said -- you can say half his wins came against "horrible teams" -- How about this then -- Granderson, since you are a Yankee fan, only 16 of his 41 homeruns were hit against teams with a winning record.  If you really want to break it down even further -- go look at how many of those 16 homeruns were hit off pitchers with a winning record for that team.  I'm sure the number drops even lower than 16.  Does that take anything away from what Granderson accomplished this year????

As far as who I would have voted for -- yes, I would have much rather saw Cabrera win the AL MVP.  I think year in and year out he is snubbed for awards as teams pitch around him, yet in his short time with Detroit, he has already won a HR title, a RBI title and this past year a batting title.  He put up 100+ rbi's this year while Detroit had one of the worst 1-3 hitters in all of baseball.  The reason he did -- he hit .390 with RISP.  The other reason I would have voted for Cabrera -- over the last two months of the season when Detroit ran away with the Central -- Cabrera hit over .400 both months.  It doesn't mean Verlander wasn't deserving -- he went 9-1 in the last two months of the season with his only loss coming in his last start. 

Since: Dec 29, 2008
Posted on: November 22, 2011 10:48 am

Justin Verlander wins AL MVP

Im sorry 32 hrs for ellsbury, not 39, mistake on my part

Since: Dec 29, 2008
Posted on: November 22, 2011 10:46 am

Justin Verlander wins AL MVP

Congrats to Jacoby Ellsbury on the stunning numbers he produced this year.  I dont think he got a fair shake, probably because the Sox collapsed but what a year.  I personally enjoyed the Red Sox collapse, but it wasnt because of Jacoby.  .321 39 hrs, 105 rbis, and 39 stolen bases. Im pretty sure in the year of the pitcher those are some MVP numbers.  If the Sox squeak into the playoffs he is ur hands down guy.  Congrats to Verlander but to put him anywhere above 5th or so is just silly.

Since: Jan 13, 2011
Posted on: November 22, 2011 10:45 am

Justin Verlander wins AL MVP

A starting pitcher should not win this award. You cannot be MVP of the league while only being a part of 17% of your team's innings played.
Well now ... considering the "players" voted to give Justin Verlander the MVP too I'd say that says wayyyyyy more than your krispy kreme induced, beer stained bvd tee,  coach potato rant.

Since: Sep 22, 2006
Posted on: November 22, 2011 10:41 am

Justin Verlander wins AL MVP

A starting pitcher should not win this award. You cannot be MVP of the league while only being a part of 17% of your team's innings played. 17% thats it! With that said Verlander had a great year hands down CY Young winner. The biggest shame is that Granderson finished FOURTH!!! That is insane. Any Red Sox player shouldnt even be in the top ten with that collapse.

Since: Dec 29, 2008
Posted on: November 22, 2011 10:36 am

Justin Verlander wins AL MVP

Congrats to Verlander, the only thing i can think is he has a lot of friends that get an mvp vote, or maybe he treats the media very well.  He had a great year but if you call him the MVP u really dont know baseball.  Great year, but you cant tell me what he did helped his team more than what Granderson or Bautista did.  Bautista is hands down the MVP if the Jays have a better supporting cast. JV got the win 70% of the time he took the mound.  Not really what i call an MVP effort, maybe i will call of work 4 days a week and still win employee of the month haha, doubt it

Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: November 22, 2011 10:33 am

Justin Verlander wins AL MVP

You want to play if.IF JV pitched in the A.L EAST he would not win 20 games,he pitched most of his starts against the minor

Here's the bottom line.  Trusted writers who know something about the game believe Verlander was the best player in baseball this year.  MLB PLAYERS VOTED HIM THE BEST AS WELL.... how can that not matter?  How can you Brian or others on here argue with the people in the league that play the game???????? 

You keep saying Verlander had a terrible post season but don't seem to grasp the post season stats  ARE NOT FACTORED INTO THIS AT ALL... VOTING IS DONE PRIOR TO THE PLAYOFFS.... You say you know that, but you keep talking about something that doesn't matter at all.  And then you still haven't answered my questions about CC and Arod.  CC won a Cy Young in 2007 but STUNK in the playoffs with a 9 era.  Arod won 3 MVP's, one his team didn't make the playoffs and in the other 2 post seasons after he won MVP he STUNK....

Do we take away Josh Hamilton's MVP from 2010 because he hit .190 in the playoffs that year?   Do you think Granderson's 1 hr and 250 batting average in the playoffs was great?  Ellsbury or Agon or Bautista for MVP on a team that didn't even make the playoffs? How can anybody possibly be MVP of the league when there team didn't make the playoffs?  Oh wait, we're gonna play the make believe game again and pretend if they played in the Central they would make the playoffs..... 

MVP voting has everything to do with stats and dominance.  Verlander's stats were awesome, and he was dominating as hell all season long.  That's all that matters..... and I'll say it one more time, EVEN THE PLAYERS VOTED HIM MVP...

The players opinions count a whole lot more then what people on these boards think..... 

Since: Sep 17, 2008
Posted on: November 22, 2011 8:39 am

Justin Verlander wins AL MVP

i'm actually surprised that granderson only finished 4th in the voting given fact that yankees offense is credited as the reason they led the league in wins.  and the clear leader of that offense this year was granderson.  he carried that team offensively in first half of the season and continued that level post all-star break.  if the guy can't win an mvp in a year when he puts up mickey mantle-like numbers (in the post-steroid era), while playing gold glove defense at one of the most important defensive positions, then i guess he never can win it.

Since: Apr 21, 2008
Posted on: November 22, 2011 7:45 am

Justin Verlander wins AL MVP

OK, if Verlander only plays 1/5th of the time, then hitters like Bautista play only 1/9th the time, because there are 9 batters in a lineup.  (And don't tell me Bautista got votes for his defense).  I put the MVP question like this: if next year they clear all the rosters, and you were a GM and had the first pick in a draft from all the players on all the teams - assured that you would get whatever season they just had in 2011 - whom would you choose?  If you didn't take Verlander, you'd be fired. 

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