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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: