The American League Most Valuable Player, according to 30 journalists who cover Major League baseball, is Justin Verlander.
Verlander went 24-5 with a 2.40 ERA, and 250 strikeouts. He is the first starting pitcher to win the award since 1986, when Roger Clemens achieved the same feat.
Frankly, I was surprised. If there was a year in which the pitcher should win, this is it. Verlander stifled offensive lineups all year long and won the pitchers triple crown (wins, earned run average, and punch outs). But many opposer argued that Verlander didn’t play in 79% of his teams games and that pitchers should not even be eligible for such an award. Regardless of how I felt about the matter, I did not believe that the Tigers Ace had enough support to win. I guess I was wrong.
I was thinking about Verlander winning the award, and what it meant for professional baseball. Will we see this more in the future? Is 20 wins + a sub 2.50 ERA + 200-230 strikeouts an MVP season? How does team success enter into the equation for a pitcher? Similarly to that of a hitter (bad teams rarely feature MVP winners)?
With all of these thoughts in mind, it brought me to an interesting question: should there be an NFL equivalent to the Cy Young award for Quarterbacks? Think about it: the Quarterback has the ball in his hands practically all game. A pitcher has total control of his teams performance when he is on the mound, and the QB is the same way for his offense. Since 1987, 18 of the 24 NFL MVP winners have been signal callers. And remember, the position is expanding. There has never been a wide receiver to win the award, there have been two defensive players, a kicker, and a handful of running backs. If there was a “Top QB Award” and a “Most Valuable Skill Position Award” wouldn’t that be more interesting? I predict a future in which QB’s dominate the leagues postseason awards. It’s nobodies fault, but lets face it- who means more to his team; Maurice Jones-Drew or Aaron Rodgers? If the two teams swapped players the Jaguars would INSTANTLY become a 10-6 or 11-5 team. And lest us not forget that the Jaguars suck. “Top QB Award” would be a good metric to judge quarterbacks against each other and a way to spread the wealth to other positions. Just an idea.
Back to Verlander, I am happy for him that he won it BUT would have instead voted for Jacoby Ellsbury myself. Of course, with the wretched taste of the Red Sox September collapse still in everyone’s mouth, he had no shot at winning. Curtis Granderson? Meh. Miguel Cabrera? Ehhhh. Jose Bautista? The Blue Jays didn’t play a meaningful game past June. Apparently, all of these factors, coupled with the stellar play of Verlander, has won him the Most Valuable Player award.
Peace out, guys.