Cy Young winner Justin Verlander, who now can add American League MVP to his trophy case, had an amazing season for the Detroit Tigers. His numbers were head and shoulders above those of all the other pitchers in the league and he handily won the AL Cy Young award last week.
However, Verlander should not have won the AL MVP award.
Jacoby Ellsbury put together a season the Boston Red Sox have never seen before. He also put together a campaign that has only been seen in Major League Baseball two other times. According to Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports, only three other players (Barry Bonds, Jose Canseco and Alex Rodriguez), had seasons in which they hit at least 32 home runs and had 39+ steals, 105+ RBI and 119+ runs scored.
Ellsbury also proved his durability following a season in which he missed the entire year. Ellsbury played in 158 games in a season in which he won the Gold Glove for center field and also won a Silver Slugger Award.
Verlander was dominant this season, winning 24 games and striking out 270 batters. However Verlander did not have a record-setting year. I am not discrediting his amazing season, but in order for a pitcher to win MVP, he has to do something for the ages.
A great example of why Verlander should not have won the Most Valuable Player is the 1999 season, where Pedro Martinez had even better numbers then Verlander did this season—and did not win the MVP. Pedro had close to 300 strikeouts while posting an ERA flirting with 2.00. He won 23 games and had one of the best seasons ever by a pitcher. Yet he did not win the MVP.
Verlander this season had 270 strikeouts while posting an ERA of 2.40 and winning 24 games.
But still not nearly as memorable as Pedro's season in 1999. If the voters didn't vote Pedro as league MVP in 1999, Verlander certainly shouldn't have been voted as such this season.
Ellsbury was not the reason for the Red Sox' late-season collapse. He was quite the opposite. Ellsbury was one of the sole reasons the Red Sox had any chance of making the playoffs. He continued to put up huge numbers while the rest of his team packed it in and called it a night.
Justin Verlander got his Cy Young Award—its a shame Jacoby Ellsbury didn't get his deserved MVP.