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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: Apr 1, 2010
Posted on: November 21, 2011 6:57 pm

Justin Verlander wins AL MVP

The "every 5th day argument" has its validity, but it also has its flaws. A hitter has repetition and momentum on his side. Playing every day at least affords the hitter the opportunity to get into a rhythm and to carry over momentum. They have the benefit of everday batting cage and infield practice. It is true that hitters get into slumps and the negative can carry over just as the positive can. However, starting pitchers who throw a great game have that momentum halted until their next start. That is a lot of time to lose focus. Surely they can begin preparation for their next start by watching video and working on mechanics, but I wouldn't think anything matches the benefits of live action and repetitious practice. Sorry, but winning 24 games is impressive, especially in the AL and Verlander was a stud the day after a Tigers loss, amongst other dominating statistics. If Verlander would have had a .500 year, the Tigers would have been in quite a dog fight for the division. I'm not saying there aren't arguments on both sides. However, a pitcher shouldn't be dismissed so easily. The key to it all are the words "most valuable." Hard to argue against Velander being such to his team's fortunes this year. I think too often the award is given to someone who just posts great statistics, instead of for their value.

Since: Dec 16, 2009
Posted on: November 21, 2011 6:52 pm

Justin Verlander wins AL MVP

Congratulations Verlander!!! Don't care what anyone posts, you were the most deserving player this year. No one else was dominant enough to make a strong enough case to not give it to Verlander. If Verlander pitched in New York or Boston, this wouldn't even be an argument. He was dominant through the year. Powered through some rough outings and still gave his team a chance to win, and was the triple crown winner for pitchers. With the innings he logged through the season, he also effected the outing before and after his start, delegating more bullpen time to those games. The others had fine seasons, but not MVP quality!! What I will say, is that despite how their team finished, Paul Konerko deserved more recognition. He had a very good season with no protection behind him.

So, if you don't think JV deserved it...... how does it go??? Na-na-na-na- boo boo!!

Since: Aug 3, 2011
Posted on: November 21, 2011 6:47 pm
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Since: Aug 16, 2006
Posted on: November 21, 2011 6:42 pm

Justin Verlander wins AL MVP

Thank god! They get it right again... I honestly felt they were going to give it to Bautista and have Ellsbury and then Granderson in that order and Verlander 4th... maybe the voting is getting better....

Since: Sep 29, 2011
Posted on: November 21, 2011 6:40 pm

Justin Verlander wins AL MVP

Don't even compare CG's and Shutouts from 78 to now, it's a completely different time. Few starting pitchers are ligitmate workhorses, where they want to go the complete game. They may go 6-7 but you'll be lucky to get much more from them. Really Doc Halladay is the only real workhorse now. 66 complete games in his career and 51 the last 5 years. Also, if Valverde didn't have the year he did, it wouldn't have been Verlander's fault had he lost. It would've been on Valverde. Without Verlander the Tigers are not a playoff team. Their rotation after Verlander is averge at best.

Since: Aug 3, 2011
Posted on: November 21, 2011 6:40 pm
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Since: May 29, 2009
Posted on: November 21, 2011 6:38 pm

Justin Verlander wins AL MVP

How many pitchers are their team's "leader"?  How many team Captains are pitchers?  While Verlander has to face the scrutiny of his and his team's performance from the media every 5th day, is that really comparable to the "role" that other recent MVP winners like Albert Pujols and Joe Mauer faced - playing EVERY day and being looked up to your teammates day-in, day-out in the heat of a pennant race?
Seeing as how only 3 teams in the MLB have "captain's" on their squads -- I'm not sure how that would fit the bill here.  I can tell you without a doubt Verlander is one of the leaders on the Tigers.  Not only that, but he shoulders the load when he steps on the mound.  No pitcher in baseball has thrown as many innings and pitches as Verlander in recent years (CC is probably the closest one)

Here are a couple of the stats I've thrown out there in these threads today about Verlander:

games started after a loss -- Verlander's record -- 16-3
games started with the possibility of getting swept -- Verlander record -- 9-1

individual winning streaks for consecutive starts -- Verlander had 9 game AND 12 game consecutive start winning streak in 2011

games against teams with a winning record -- 3-2  4 no decisions -- the 2 losses (1-0 and 2-0 -- Verlander pitched 17 innings with 17 ks in the losses with an ERA of about 1.75) 

individual stats Verlander led not only the AL, but the MLB -- Wins, Strikeouts, IP, WHIP, Opp BA

individual stats Verlander led the AL -- ERA (3rd in the MLB)

won the triple crown for pitchers (Wins, Strikeouts and ERA)

pitched a no-hitter, 2 more he took no hit bids into the 8, 1 more he took a no hit bid into the 7

He was the most dominant player, not only in the AL, but in the MLB.  He single handedly carried the Tigers on his back until the Trade Deadline and Fister came on board.  Prior to the trade deadline -- Detroit's starters not named Verlander had an ERA close to 5.00 and were 1 game under .500, yet Detroit still led the AL Central by 5 games. 

Since: Dec 24, 2006
Posted on: November 21, 2011 6:36 pm
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Since: Dec 24, 2006
Posted on: November 21, 2011 6:31 pm
This comment has been removed.

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Since: May 7, 2011
Posted on: November 21, 2011 6:26 pm

Justin Verlander wins AL MVP

This has been one great year for "JV"! First,he wins the Cy Young,and now the AL MVP! Can't nobody tell me that he ain't "The Man"! Way to do your thang "JV"!!!!CoolMoney mouthCool

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