There has been many a discussion over the last handful of weeks whether a pitcher should be in consideration for the Most Valuable Player award. Are starting pitchers, who impact roughly 35 games a year important enough to win an award over an every day player who impacts 155-160 games per season? That’s been the great debate. Justin Verlander, who currently holds a 24-5 record with 2.29 earned run average, 0.91 walks plus hits per nine innings and 244 strikeouts through 244 innings has brought the discussion to a head.
Should Tigers manager Jim Leyland said that he’d reluctantly vote for his ace Justin Verlander, despite saying that he doesn’t think a pitcher is worthy over a position player. ESPN’s Jayson Stark joined the discussion Wednesday saying that the award should be Verlander’s. In his article, Stark listed numerous bullet points in favor of JV including: 1. Verlander has stopped 16 Tigers losing streaks. He’s 16-3 following a Tigers loss. 2. Since the end of April, he’s 22-2 with a 2.00 ERA; and 3. He’s made 19 starts where he has gotten at least one out in the eighth inning or later.
The last pitcher to win the AL MVP is Dennis Eckersley in 1992. Offense was at a premium that year and Eck saved 51 games and finished with a 1.91 ERA. The last to even get a first place vote is Johan Santana in 2006.
On Tuesday, Verlander told Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports who he’d vote for.
“If I get a vote, me. Who wouldn’t (spent it on himself)? It’s not like I would just vote for anybody. But, yeah, if pitchers are eligible, and they clearly are, I would say I’m worthy of it. I wouldn’t say I should win it over others. I haven’t really delved into those numbers. So if I had a vote, I’d have to do my homework, but I wouldn’t discount my season.”
Typical Verlander. The confidence, borderline cockiness and talking about homework. Verlander’s attitude on the mound has changed this year. He’s still serious and gets himself angry before starts and maintains it through his last pitch, but he isn’t letting hitters get under his skin. He has admitted that guys who bunted or tried to rattle him ticked him off. This year, he’s learned to control it. Just like he should control the 2011 American League Most Valuable Player award.
Category: Detroit Tigers