Verlander Grabs Undeserved MVP Award

By Tony Piraro

As I have stated emphatically in the past, I don’t ever see a reason to award a pitcher the Most Valuable Player of baseball. Justin Verlander racked up the MVP Award on Monday as he adds to his trophy case, alongside the 2011 Cy Young Award. He was the first pitcher in 25 years to win the MVP. The last starting pitcher to win the award was the lowlife himself, Roger Clemens, in 1986 with the Red Sox.

No pitcher had a better season than Verlander, and that is why he won the Cy Young. The Cy Young; an award dedicated to the best PITCHER in baseball on an annual basis. Verlander’s 24-5 performance was justification enough that there was no better pitcher than him in 2011…However, the MVP Award is saying he was the best player in all of baseball, throwing a slap in the face of everyday players everywhere.

Verlander walked to the mound 34 times this past season (great by starting pitcher standards). However, that is less than one-fifth of his teams’ games during the 162-game regular season. How can voters justify awarding someone who plays every fifth day? What about the position players who play 155-162 games in a season? The guys who play on all four days, when that pitcher has off waiting for their next start, is constantly helping his team win. A pitcher does not contribute to his team, but twice a week max during a given week of the MLB season.

The MVP is meant to be awarded to the best position player/hitter in the American and National League respectively. A guy who plays in 155-162 games a season makes defensive plays that save games and his pitchers. They make sacrifice bunts that dictate outcomes of games. Power guys hit bombs that change games in an instant. Are you telling me these guys don’t deserve an award because a pitcher had a better season? Sorry, I can never agree with that methodology.

Look at a teammate of Verlander’s, who played in 161 games for the Detroit Tigers during the 2011 season…Miguel Cabrera was playing first base in the field for 152 of the 162-game regular season schedule. Cabrera helped win games like Verlander, and made his offense better with a .344 batting average, 30 homers, 105 RBIs. Are you telling me Detroit still would of won the division had Cabrera not existed and it was just Verlander? Get real.

My personal co-selections for the MVP were Jacoby Ellsbury of the Red Sox and the Yankees Curtis Granderson. These two were unbelievable last season, and it is a crime that one of them wasn’t awarded the MVP. Even Jose Bautista and his .302 batting average, 43 HRs and 103 RBIs were wonderful numbers that deserved the MVP more than the Tigers ace.

I don’t care that the Red Sox choked away the season in the final month. Boston would of never been in that situation, had it not been for Ellsbury and Adrian Gonzalez. A few months after paying Carl Crawford big bucks, Boston should of paid Ellsbury that money instead, with numbers that destroyed Crawford’s. The Red Sox centerfielder batted .321 with 32 home runs, 39 stolen bases, 119 runs and 105 RBIs. He also demonstrated game-saving defense with his flawless 1.000 fielding percentage in 152 games played in the outfield. That season doesn’t deserve just the Comeback Player of the Year Award, as Jacoby won, it deserves the MVP. Ellsbury’s teammate Adrian Gonzalez definitely stole some votes away from Jacoby with his league-leading 213 hits, .333 batting avg, 27 home runs and 117 RBIs amidst his first season in the American League.

Curtis Granderson led his New York team to the playoffs with his offensive explosion in 2011. The Yankees centerfielder stole 25 bases and blasted 41 home runs, 26 doubles, with a league-best 119 RBIs and 136 runs scored. He carried a .992 fielding percentage, making just three errors in 152 games played on defense. Are you telling me he wasn’t the most valuable player to his team? Granderson accounted for a league-best 136 runs scored and 119 runs driven in…totaling 255 New York runs that CG had direct influence upon.

Those five position players are what an MVP is all about. It’s not somebody who appears in just 34 games, no matter how well he played in those starts. It is a baseball player who endures the daily grind and keeps coming back the next day to help influence the outcome of that game. A guy who plays in 161 games for his team that season, helps dictate a ton more games than a pitcher ever could. Justin Verlander was the best pitcher in the American League, I’m not refuting that, but he doesn’t deserve the MVP. If baseball isn’t going to award an everyday player the MVP, then an award should be created ONLY for position players….Hmmmmmm, i don’t know….Maybe something like….the Cy Young Award! Duh.

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