November 23, 2011

How is Verlander the MVP?

by Dan Bilicki In: Baseball

Thanks to Major League Baseball’s vague interpretation of their highest individual award, a guy who played in just 21% of his teams was somehow deemed the most valuable in the league.

Let’s just get this straight to begin with. Justin Verlander is a great player and was the best pitcher in the American League (for the record, I believe Clayton Kershaw had a better season with the Dodgers, but that’s besides the point).

The Tigers ace was dominant, he won games and he led the league in many important categories including wins, ERA and strikeouts. But the one number that should exclude him from the MVP race is 34 games out of 162.

I’m sure there are a million sabermetric stats that can back up his MVP win, but they don’t outweigh that one for me.

As for who should have won the award? It wasn’t the greatest year for stand-out candidates — something that seriously helped Verlander — but Jose Bautista, Curtis Granderson, Jacoby Ellsbury and even Verlander’s teammate, Miguel Cabrera, would have been worthy winners.

I think that the writers that voted on this award may have lost sight of the real goal here — to name the most valued player in the league — and made a novelty pick to garner some attention.

If anything, I hope this leads to some official guidelines for MVP voting. That way they can get rid of two debates at once: Should pitchers be eligible and should players from a non-playoff team be eligible.

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