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.

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Since: Sep 28, 2006
Posted on: November 21, 2011 11:50 pm

Hitters Have The HANK AARON AWARD!!!

People, do you realize that there actually is an award for the best hitter in the game???

I don't know why the Hank Aaron Award doesn't get more publicity, but all this Cy Young = Pitcher, MVP= Hitter stuff is just plain wrong.

Since: Nov 2, 2007
Posted on: November 21, 2011 11:45 pm

Justin Verlander wins AL MVP

they were the numbers in jayson stark's column on there's more than one way to calculate WAR i think

Since: Apr 3, 2010
Posted on: November 21, 2011 11:30 pm

Justin Verlander wins AL MVP

...yeah, theres a reason why you got a -92 score for that post...IDIOTIC!

JV derserved to be considered for MVP, i personally thought he should of won it too and he did.  Congrats to JV.

Since: Nov 21, 2011
Posted on: November 21, 2011 11:29 pm

Justin Verlander wins AL MVP

Here is the deal.  The MVP should make any team better.  So if you swapped any of the other Runners-up and put them on the Tigers, would the Tigers make the playoffs...very doubtful.

Does Elsbury get the Tigers to the playoffs, with the rest of thier Roation...nope
Does Granderson? NOpe
Does Bautista?  (A scary Line-up, but still you need Pitching to win games) nope

But if you put Verlander in Boston, Red Sox make the playoffs.

If you put him in NY, they probally make the World Series.

And if you put him in Toronto, Blue Jays definately win more games. 

So who is MVP?  The player that makes the biggest difference on any team he plays...and JV would make a huge difference if he played for any other team.

Congrats JV, well deserved.

Since: Apr 3, 2010
Posted on: November 21, 2011 11:26 pm

Justin Verlander wins AL MVP

"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."

Give me a break! There's also a grind to the season for pitchers.  Why do you think starting pitchers NEED 4 days of rest before they can pitch again?  Pitchers get their arms worked hard over a 162 game schedule and to throw 250 IP (when 200 IP is considered a good benchmark for a SP these days) is pretty impressive.  And lets not forget that Verlander affected both the game after and game prior.  Leyland knew the game prior that he could empty out his bullpen if he needed to because he knew JV was on the mound next game, meaning he'll probably get 7 innings at the very least.  And with JV going 7 or more innings that helps out the team the next game because Leyland didn't need to use many relievers to finish the game.  Props to JV for winning his 1st MVP, well deserved.

Since: Sep 8, 2006
Posted on: November 21, 2011 11:23 pm

Justin Verlander wins AL MVP

So Ellsbury finished 2nd in voting...Would you trade Verlander straight up for Ellsbury?  Of course not!  Verlander is much more valuable than Ellsbury or Bautista or any other "everyday player" in the AL.  I am a Red Sox fan dreaming of a JV for Jacoby trade that will never happen because the Tigers are not that dumb.

Since: Jun 1, 2009
Posted on: November 21, 2011 10:49 pm

Justin Verlander wins AL MVP

Isn't that a b-tch? A pitcher is in line for both the Cy Young and MVP awards. A hitter, who plays every game of the year, is not. W/o Verlander the Tigers do not make the playoffs, but the same can be said for several Tiger's hitters. A pitcher has an award called the"Cy Young," which is given to the best pitcher (not always the case). It can never be given to a non-pitcher--never. Why do we allow it the other way around. I like Verlander, but he played in one-fifth of his teams games. It seems such a simple matter to distinguish hitters from pitchers.

Since: Sep 23, 2009
Posted on: November 21, 2011 10:47 pm

Justin Verlander wins AL MVP

@dotneck335......were talking AL here. I don't think Pujols gets on an AL ballot. 

Since: May 29, 2009
Posted on: November 21, 2011 10:36 pm

Justin Verlander wins AL MVP

Still have a difficult time agreeing that a guy who only plays in less than 35 games a year can be the MVP of the whole league... 

He's a great pitcher, but there is an award for great's called the Cy Young Award. 

You don't have to be a Tiger hater to have this point of view, BTW. 

And somewhere Jacoby Ellsbury has got to be asking WTH a guys gotta' do to win that freaking award...
What do people not understand???  There is an award for everyday position players -- it is called the Silver Slugger award.  It is awarded to the best player at each position.  

It is not called the MVPP (most valuable position player) -- it is the MVP.  Without Verlander, the Tigers don't make the playoffs or make a trade to bring in Fister.  At the time of the trade -- Detroit's 2-5 had an era close to 5.00 and a record under .500.

If you take Ellsbury off the Red Sox, what happens, they don't make the playoffs???  

The reason a pitcher can be MVP is simple -- you lead the mlb in wins, innings pitched, strikeouts, whip and opp ba.  you win the triple crown for pitching, throw a no hitter, take two more no hit bids into the 8th and another no hit bid into the 7th.  also helps to win 9 consecutive starts and then follow it up with winning 12 consecutive starts.  being 22-2 after the month of april isn't bad either.  oh yeah, and basically carry a team on your back for most of the season.

Since: Mar 24, 2010
Posted on: November 21, 2011 10:34 pm

Justin Verlander wins AL MVP

Excuse me, Mr. East Coast---WHO WON THE WORLD SERIES??? The same team that has been IN the Series MORE times than any franchise(3) in the last 8 years, and winning it TWICE!!! Was it an AL East Coast team??? NO---it was the St. Louis Cardinals!!!

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