Anytime a starting pitcher seriously enters the MVP conversation, the grumbling begins. I get it–pitchers have the Cy Young Award, their highest honor, all to themselves. Why should they be eligible to win the MVP award as well? This point aside, how can a starting pitcher be considered the most valuable when they are only on the field every fifth day and don’t play offense in the American League?
These grumblings became much louder yesterday when Detroit’s Justin Verlander became the first starting pitcher in 25 years to win the MVP award. I wrote previously on my 2011 MVP award picks, purposely choosing a position player as the MVP while noting that I thought Verlander really should get the nod. I’m glad he did, and I for one have no problem with a pitcher winning the award. I think that Verlander was the most valuable to his team, and until the award is renamed to the Offensive Player of the Year or something similar, he’s the right pick.
There’s a million different ways I could try to quantify this argument, but in this instance I think a simple argument works best. So here goes…
In 2011 Justin Verlander had more wins than any pitcher in two decades. He led the league in earned run average. He led the league in strikeouts. And he pitched a no-hitter. What more can you possibly do as a pitcher?
Is that not enough? What do you think?
Verlander’s season, simply put, was that good. I also have to give props to my boy Jacoby Ellsbury, who came in second in the voting with 242 points to Verlander’s 280.
Geoff Roberts is the Founder and Managing Editor of howiGit.com, a Boston sports blog.