Earlier this week Verlander was officially and unanimously awarded this years Cy Young award. So everyone with a vote agreed: Justin Verlander = 2011 AL Cy Young Award. Recognition that he was the best pitcher in the American League. The next AL equation to tackle: Does Justin Verlander = 2011 MVP?
Notice, it doesn’t say anything about pitchers being eligible or not. Unfortunately though, voters for the Most Valuable Player award have the notion ingrained in their brain that MVP awards are for position players and the Cy Young award is for pitchers. The only thing 100% true about that last statement is that the Cy Young award is strictly a pitchers award. Soooo, that said, Justin Verlander should not be denied serious consideration for the MVP solely because conventional wisdom says he shouldn’t because of his position. He is listed on the Detroit Tigers depth chart just like Miguel Cabrera.
The Detroit Tigers ace has stats that speak for themselves. Verlander led the American League in Games Started (34), Wins (24), Earned Run Average (2.40), Walks/Hits per inning (0.92), Innings Pitched (251), and Strikeouts (250). I heard about Verlander knowing Minnesota Twins First baseman Justin Morneau better than Morneau knows himself. But with numbers like these, it is almost like he knows more about the entire league than they know about themselves!
In August I posted about Verlander deserving some MVP consideration. Stating that Curtis Granderson, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Jose Bautista were also having awesome seasons, but their respective teams would be in exactly the same place in the standings without these guys having huge seasons. In the end, the Yankees won the division, the Red Sox missed out on the Wild Card by 1 game, and the Blue Jays finished 4th in the division. Yes the Red Sox had an epic collapse, but they still won 90 games, a typical season for Boston over the past 5 to 10 years. Verlander carried Detroit to the division title down the stretch, ensuring a playoff birth.
When a player can come out and do what is essential to win games, game after game, you have to recognize! Justin Verlander did exactly that. Which is why I truly believe he deserves to win the 2011 AL MVP award. We will find out on Monday whether or not the voters feel the same. Either way, one equation I’m sure of is this: Justin Verlander = Filthy.