Verlander didn’t deserve the AL MVP

Justin Verlander

Justin Verlander only was on the field 34 times. Photo: USA Today

Justin Verlander had an amazing 2011 season. He won pitching’s triple crown (wins, ERA and strikeouts) by going 24-5, 2.40 ERA and 250 Ks. Those stats won him BOTH the American League Cy Young and MVP.

In my opinion, he should not have garnered the MVP award.

There’s a reason that they make the Cy Young just for just pitchers. It’s because they are not everyday players and shouldn’t be able to win the MVP award. Verlander was on the field just 34 times the entire season. AL MVP runner-up Jacoby Ellsbury of the Boston Red Sox and second runner-up Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays grinded through 158 and 149 games, respectively.

Since he was closest to Verlander, I’ll make an argument for Ellsbury. I’m not going to go into a bunch of sabermetrics and tell you that Ellbury’s Wins Above Replacement (WAR) was high, or anything like that. The basic stats besides games played stand out for Ellsbury as well:

In 2011, Ellsbury batted .321 with 32 home runs, 105 RBIs and 39 stolen bases. As a matter of fact, you could argue that the only thing that kept the Red Sox close in the wild card race with the Rays was Ellsbury. In the month of September, he hit .358 with 8 HR and 21 RBIs. Pretty much the rest of the team was anemic. If that’s not MVP-worthy, I don’t know what is.

The fact that MVP stands for Most Valuable Player, not Pitcher. That’s the way it should’ve stayed this year as well.

Disagree? Let me know your thoughts in the comments:


Posted on November 21, 2011, in Baseball, Sports, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Thanks for inviting me over. I think the Red Sox collapse on the last night of the regular season didn’t do Ellsbury any favors. The MVP ballots are due 24 hours after the season ends, and I remember that sense of shock and disbelief that was still so fresh the next day. I even wrote about it here and here

    Perhaps voters who were prepared to give it to Ellsbury changed their mind after the Red Sox completed their collapse. Neither Bautista nor Ellsbury were in the playoffs, and I’m sure this didn’t help either of their causes very much.

    All the best to you.

  2. Great point. The voters were seemingly choosing out of emotion rather than considering the facts. Perhaps 24 hours after the end of the regular season is too short of a time but it’s not like Ellsbury was on a last place team like when A-Rod won it with the Rangers. They were not even in contention that year.

  3. Couldn’t agree with you more about Verlander. Cy Young he deserved that no questions asked…MVP nope…can’t do it.

    I like the idea of extending the deadline for MVP votes a little. The only thing I worry about is if it gets into the playoffs and some voters, even unintentionally get swayed by what they see. Because that would hurt players like Ellsbury, Bautista and even Kemp more. But something needs to change for sure.


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