Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Detroit Tigers Justin Verlander an MVP candidate? What "should be" compared to what "could be"

Justin Verlander clearly deserves consideration not only for the American League Cy Young Award, but MVP as well.
But it's unlikely he will even come close as a starting pitcher if recent history is any indication.
- No starting pitcher has won an MVP award since Roger Clemens with Boston in 1986.
- No starting pitcher has finished above 10th in A.L. MVP voting since Minnesota's Johan Santana was seventh in 2006.
- No starting pitcher has finished in the Top 5 in A.L. MVP voting since Boston's Pedro Martinez was fifth in 2000. Martinez was also the last A.L. pitcher in the Top 3 in MVP voting. He was second in 1999.
- Last year, there were only two starting pitchers in the Top 20 receiving A.L. MVP votes. The Yankees' C.C. Sabathia was 13th and Seattle's Felix Hernandez 16th. To give you an idea where that ranked, Minnesota's Delmon Young, the newest Tiger, was 10th.
- Utterly brilliant seasons don't even bring MVP votes for starting pitchers. When Cleveland's Cliff Lee was 22-3 in 2008, he placed 12th. In 2002, when Barry Zito won 23 games for Oakland, he placed 13th.
But even knowing this, there is a question needs to be asked. Who is more valuable to their team in the American League this season than Justin Verlander is to the Tigers? I mean 14 of 18 victories after his team lost the game before. Another when over Cleveland when the Tigers were tied with the Indians for first place. He's thrown more than 100 pitches in every start this season. All his numbers - ERA, k's, WHIP, innings pitched - are really good. He is on pace to go 24-7 this season. No American League pitcher has won 24 or more games since Bob Welch - pride of Hazel Park High School - won 27 for Oakland in 1990. He was ninth in MVP voting that year, but there were two other starting pitchers ahead of him that season, Clemens and Dave Stewart.



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