Tag:Detroit Tigers
Posted on: September 21, 2011 9:10 pm

Verlander for the MVP?

1) The MVP award was designed to honor the best player (regardless of position, won/loss records, etc.) This argument that "if you took so-and-so off their team, where would they be" does not apply. If you do that, then every year we'd find a crappy team that has one great player and give the award to that guy. Nope, it's to honor the best player. I do look at a team's success as a tie-breaker sort of deal; if two players are extremely close and I can't make a decision, I might go with the one whose team has had more success... but only as a tie-breaker.
2) Just because there is a Cy Young Award does not automatically disqualify pitchers from being considered for the MVP award. There are Silver Slugger awards, too. Does that disqualify hitters from being considered? And there are Gold Gloves? Does that disqualify position players from winning MVP? No.
3) The argument that position players have a bigger effect on their team's ability to win than do starting pitchers also fails to hold water. While position players play in more games, they are not always involved in that many more plate appearances that the top starting pitchers. This year, in fact, Justin Verlander has been involved in more plate appearances than the player who I believe is in the running for AL MVP with him. Going into tonight, Verlander has faced 938 batters and had 47 fielding chances. Jose Bautista has 622 plate appearances and 328 fielding chances. That totals 975 plate appearances that Justin Verlander has control over, with Bautista having 950.
4)I don't see a case in these days where a closer has a shot at MVP. These guys don't often come into the game in stressful situations anymore. They normally show up with a lead and nobody on base in the ninth inning. Even bad closers convert 75% of their save chances now.
I'm not necessarily saying that Justin Verlander should be the AL MVP. What I'm saying is that a pitcher who has had the kind of year he has had shouldn't be discounted for the award just because of the position he plays.
To tell you the truth, I'd have a difficult time deciding between Verlander and Bautista. Since some of the numbers I consider important (ERA+ and OPS+) are very similar for these guys, I'd go to the tiebreaker and give it to Verlander due to the Tigers' success, of which he has been the most key element.
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