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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.

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Since: Oct 30, 2007
Posted on: November 21, 2011 10:25 pm



Since: Nov 21, 2011
Posted on: November 21, 2011 10:23 pm

Justin Verlander wins AL MVP

MLB makes itself look stupid again.  How can a player who only appears in 35 out of 162 games be the MVP?  Pitchers already have a best-player award, it's called the Cy Young Award.  The MVP should to go to the player who makes his team great EVERY day, game in and game out, the guy who makes such a difference that when he gets a day off, you don't count on your team winning that day.  Verlander had a great year, and deservedly won the Cy Young - but he doesn't deserve the MVP.  Makes no sense...

Since: May 2, 2007
Posted on: November 21, 2011 10:07 pm

Justin Verlander wins AL MVP

its amazing how some of these writers are very biased towards certain players/teams.  it would be nice to see some of them not be this way and actually vote accordingly.  however I do understand the one writers rational that a pitcher does only play 21% of the time. its sad but true. but the Tigers definitely dont make the playoffs if they dont have Verlander. 

Since: Sep 7, 2006
Posted on: November 21, 2011 10:04 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...

Since: Oct 29, 2010
Posted on: November 21, 2011 9:33 pm

Justin Verlander wins AL MVP

Well deserved for Verlander. Without him, Detroit never makes the playoffs.If he accounts for 25% of the teams wins, how can he not be an MVP? Guys playing everyday don't have that kind of influence.

Since: Nov 21, 2011
Posted on: November 21, 2011 9:22 pm

Justin Verlander wins AL MVP

Boston not making the playoffs killed Ellsburys chance for MVP. Verlander has a great year but pitchers have the CY Young award, isn't that enough ? A pitcher getting both Cy Young and MVP should mean no everyday position player had numbers worthy of the award. Guess hitting 320,slugging over 500 ,hitting over 30 HRs 100 rbi's and stealing near 50 bases from the leadoff position wasn't enough.

Since: Dec 8, 2006
Posted on: November 21, 2011 9:07 pm

Justin Verlander wins AL MVP

Most appropriate.  

Since: Nov 21, 2011
Posted on: November 21, 2011 8:52 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Sep 23, 2009
Posted on: November 21, 2011 8:48 pm

Justin Verlander wins AL MVP

And whats with the east coast bias comments? Is it really a bias? Or is the AL east truly the best division. Lets face it...Yankees, Rays, Red Sox and even the 4th place Blue Jays are better than most teams in the AL. Aside from Cabrera, what other hitters in the AL had years like Granderson, Ellsbury, Bautista, and Gonzalez? Cano even. And those are the guys that were in the top of the voting. Name one guy out of the east who deserved to be ahead of those guys. And Im actually surprised Gonzalez didn't get a first place vote. So enough with the bias. Texas and Detroit are the only teams that can be compared to the top 3 in the AL east.

Since: Sep 23, 2009
Posted on: November 21, 2011 8:37 pm

Justin Verlander wins AL MVP

At nittany1bn....Where did you get those numbers from? According to baseball-reference verlander and bautista were tied for the lead with an 8.5 war and ellsbury 7.2.

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