Verlander for MVP? You’re kidding right?

A pitcher winning MVP? Insanity.


I’m sorry, but no.  It’s driving me crazy, there are too many people out there, throwing this around.

There is little more than a small case that can be made for Justin Verlander to win the MVP in my mind, and if it were up to me, a pitcher wouldn’t even be able to win the award.

Let’s be real, pitchers have their award, it’s called the Cy Young award (which Verlander undoubtedly should and will win in my opinion) and beyond that fact there is also the reality that as good as Verlander is, he pitches once every five days and if he is lucky, he pitches in 30-35 games for his team every year.

To put that in perspective, Verlander is 20-5 on the season right now, in 29 starts.   Six of those 29 starts were average (4 or more runs), and his team is 21-8 when he pitches. Pretty impressive stuff, but let’s take a look at Josh Beckett of the Red Sox.  Beckett is 11-5 on the season in 25 starts.  four of his 25 starts were average, and his team is 18-7 when he pitches.  Verlanders ERA is 2.38 and Beckett’s is 2.43.

From those numbers, its fair to say that Beckett and Verlander are on the same level this season.  Yet Beckett will not receive consideration for MVP (and rightly so).  Verlander’s 20 wins, as with any pitcher, is more  a product of luck than anything and people seem to be arguing that his wins make him MVP eligible. It’s like people in the press are bored with everyday players winning the award so they want to ‘spice it up.’ Felix Hernandez had a better season last year than Verlander is having this year and he finished 16th in the MVP voting!  Whats the difference? King Felix had a W/L of 13-12, which says nothing about how he pitched.

To tie a nice knot on the above, basically Justin Verlander is the best pitcher in baseball this season, but no pitcher should win the MVP.


About Jeff Ohlson

Jeff's a senior at Quinnipiac University, currently interning at Ch.7, in the sports department for the summer. Jeff is also the creator and owner of
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3 Responses to Verlander for MVP? You’re kidding right?

  1. In ’97 Pedro went 17-8 with a 1.90 ERA and 13 complete games and finished 16th in MVP voting with Montreal. In ’99 he was 23-4 with 2.07 ERA and finished 2nd with Boston. If any pitcher in our generation should’ve won MVP, it was been him.

    Also, Beckett has a better ERA+ than Verlander (170 to 167) which adjusts a pitchers ERA for their ballpark. So you could make a case that Beckett is having a better year.

  2. I kind of agree Scott. It’s mainly because people think he’s led a staff to put the Tigers in first place in the division. However, I agree that because a pitcher can’t affect every game, it’s a hard argument to say a pitcher can win MVP unless they are absolutely so above dominant over any other pitcher in the league. A better debate I think though is if a relief pitcher can or should win Cy Young? For instance, a Gagne for the Dodgers years ago?

  3. Jeff Ohlson says:

    Well as far as leading a staff, I think that’s just the media trying to make a reason to put him in the discussion and its kinda bullshit. Like I said in the article, Beckett is having a very similar year, and he will not receive a special ‘leading the staff’ award mention. I dont think a pitcher should ever win the MVP unless he wins 25-30 games and loses only 2-3 with an ERA of sub 2.00. To answer your question Steve, I think that a reliever should be able to, look at a guy like K-rod when he saved 60 games, thats a lot of saves, and not only is that in itself impressive but he also appeared in 76 games. Thats almost half his teams games!

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