I still haven’t decided whether I agree or disagree with Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Justin Verlander being announced as the American League’s Most Valuable Player on Monday.
I can make a case for both sides.
On one hand, the fact that he won the AL’s pitching Triple Crown is mighty impressive. With a dazzling 24-5 record, a 2.40 ERA, and 250 strikeouts, Verlander was clearly the right choice to be named the AL’s Cy Young Award winner, which he won unanimously last week.
However, when he received the MVP Award, it came with much more controversy.
The biggest question that people have been asking is, “Should pitchers really be eligible to be voted MVP?”
To me, it depends.
I certainly believe that a pitcher can be the best player on his team, but a pitcher doesn’t experience the grind of an everyday position player; especially starting pitchers, who only take the ball once every five days.
I’m not saying that being a starting pitcher is easy. It’s obviously difficult to pitch in the major leagues, much less post the numbers that Verlander did this past season.
But I can’t see how Verlander was more important to his team than, say, Curtis Granderson or Robinson Cano of the New York Yankees, Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays, Jacoby Ellsbury of the Boston Red Sox, and so on and so forth.
Funny how all four guys I named are in the AL East isn’t it? Just shows that you really don’t have to look too long and hard to find other MVP-worthy names.
But then again, Verlander had a phenomenal season. And he did play a huge part in the Tigers’ AL Central title.
The thing is, it’s impossible for one pitcher to carry an entire pitching staff. And while the Tigers had no one else the stature of Verlander, they did have some other pretty solid arms, including Max Scherzer, who went 15-9; Rick Porcello, who went 14-9; and Doug Fister, who posted a 2.83 ERA despite an 11-13 record. Still, each man reached double digits in wins and proved to be fairly reliable as the 2-3-4 guys in the rotation.
So, to me, while I think there were more deserving names and I can provide several reasons why Verlander should not have won the MVP Award, I can also look at his numbers and see why some people would think he was the correct pick.
The writers voted for him and since America is a democracy, I guess that’s fair.
Then again, we’ve all seen the amount of dispute involved in politics. Why would sports be any different?
Verlander can take solace in one fact, though: no matter what anyone says, none of them can take his award away from him.
Sources: FOXSports.com and mlb.com