Tuesday, September 13, 2011

About Justin Verlander and the AL MVP

The Tigers have the American League Central title all but wrapped up at this stage, but tonight's start against the White Sox will be, nonetheless, an important one for Justin Verlander.
His shot at becoming the first starting pitcher since 1986 to win the American League MVP Award remains at stake.
Remember, no starting pitcher has been in the Top 10 in voting since 2006 when Johan Santana was seventh for the Twins, and no starting pitcher has been in the Top 3 since Pedro Martinez in 1999. Verlander must be far above the norm at the end of this season get a legitimate shot at MVP.
I think:
- He needs to get to 24 victories.
- He must keep his ERA under 2.50.
- All his final numbers must remain sky-high.
Regardless, voters should remember that Verlander did win an awful lot of games after Tigers losses, and when it wasn't going well for the club. Without him, the late-season streak that has turned the AL Central race into a rout would not have been possible.
There is no clear-cut MVP candidate among position players. Curtis Granderson, Adrian Gonzalez and Jose Bautista all have strong points, but a few holes, too. Miguel Cabrera, in my opinion, has had a season to equal any of them overall.
Winning the MVP would also be a strong point for Verlander should he put together a Hall of Fame caliber career. It would definitely be a factor in his favor that would set him apart from virtually any other pitcher from his generation - at least to this point.



Blogger Steve said...

At first I subscribed to the, "He doesn't play everyday" argument as to why Verlander should NOT win the MVP.

But, then I thought, if an expansion team was starting up and you listed Verlander, Gonzalaz,Granderson, and Bautista as possible choices for that GM, who would he take? In my opinion he would take Verlander in a heartbeat.... now I'm rethinking that MVP vote.

10:31 AM 
Blogger Fred Brill said...

Okay, I'm a slappy - I do think Verlander does deserve the MVP - but I don't see the vote going that way. Especially in the AL where the pitcher doesn't even bat. Now if you added a .300 average and a walk off homer in mid august to take the AL Central lead and start the winning streak - along with lights out no hitters into the eigth - you might get the voters attention.

It wouldn't have hurt if he were also a Navy Seal on the squad that got Bin Laden ... with 100 mph slider ... that's likely what it would take.

Okay, I'll be quiet.

12:24 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

It's a oddity because starting pitching is the single most important factor in the game, yet an individual works just once every five days. I think he's going to win it, though.

1:07 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Fred Brill,
I don't think you're being a slappy. I think he has a 50-50 chance of winning it. He is so far ahead other pitchers this season, and there is no-clear position player. Might be the perfect combo to make it happen.

1:09 PM 

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