Marlins Fan's Blog


The one certainty regarding Major League Baseball is that the way in which we view the game and it's players is constantly changing.  Over the last several years we have seen new statistics for both hitting and fielding, and also pitching.

But there are a few things that have remained the same, or perhaps I should say there are a few things that are different than they were in baseball's early days, but have not changed for quite some time.

I'm proposing that we change one particular thing to the way it was back in the day.

I'm talking about the most popular subject on FanNation these days - Justin Verlander for MVP.

Now before I say why we should go back to how things were, let me just put a few facts out there.

First of all, pitchers are eligible for the MVP award.  There is a popular myth that the Cy Young award is pitchers' version of the MVP.

This is untrue.  When the Cy Young was introduced, it was explained to the voters that this was a separate award, and that regarding the MVP award, voters were expected to consider all position players, pitchers, and even DH's. 

Heck, in 1968, Bob Gibson won the NL MVP and the NL Cy Young, and Denny McLain won the AL MVP and the AL Cy Young.  This was the only year that both awards were swept in both Leagues, but it illustrates my point that at a certain point, voters were aware of pitchers' eligiblity for the MVP award, even after the Cy Young was introduced, and were willing to give it to a pitcher if he was deemed deserving.

However, at some point, MVP voters became disillusioned with the idea of pitchers winning the MVP.  There was a brief period of time when closers were viewed as serious MVP candidates, but overall the MVP has not been given out to pitchers very much at all over the last 40-plus years.

This needs to change.

Not simply for the sake of change, but just for the sake of fairness.

Which brings me to the Justin Verlander debate.

Most people would say he's not worthy of the MVP because as a starting pitcher, he only plays every fifth game, and therefore doesn't make as great an impact on his team as a position player would.

That is an unfair and an untrue assumption.

Let me give you some numerical information to back up what I'm saying.

Verlander has pitched 216 innings out of the Detroit Tigers' total 1,161 innings pitched.  This means Verlander has pitched 18.6% of his teams' total innings pitched.

His teammate Miguel Cabrera, the Tigers best position player and an annual borderline MVP candidate, has logged 577 of the Tigers' total 5,001 plate appearances.  This means Cabrera has been at the plate for 11.5% of the Tiger's total plate appearances.

It can be hard to compare a pitched to a position player, but when Verlander is responsible for 18.6% of his team's innings pitched, and Cabrera is responsible for just 11.5% of his team's total plate appearances, that indicates to me that the old way of thinking is wrong, and that a SP can have as much or more of an impact on his team's success as a position player.

It's time to let the old and incorrect way of viewing MVP candidates die.

We should consider all players as MVP candidates, provided their statistics prove their MVP-worthiness.

In short, maybe Justin Verlander shouldn't win the AL MVP come season's end, but it should be because his statistics don't match up when compared to another player, regardless of if that player is a position player or a pitcher.

Bottom line, Justin Verlander and every other pitcher can and should be in the discussion for MVP awards when their statistics merit consideration.

Comment #1 has been removed
August 29, 2011  09:37 AM ET

So, by Verlander pitching 1/2 an inning and Cabrera playing or at least available, the whole inning you are looking at Verlander as contributing MORE than Miguel?

Remember this, Miquel plays the entire game. Justin does not. Out of the 1178 innings played, Miguel was in over 80% of them, So the slanted AB thing is a joke...

Sorry. I still don't see a pitcher plummeting his team into the playoffs the way a position player can.

A pitcher can hold the other team to zero runs all he wants but until someone steps up to the plate and scores for the team, that pitcher will NEVER win.

August 29, 2011  09:58 AM ET

Great blog, Marlins Fan. I totally agree.

August 29, 2011  11:13 PM ET

No, in my mind he's not even the definite Cy Young winner so I can't vote for him for MVP.

But, still, great blog Marlins. A very good read and good perspective

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August 29, 2011  11:32 PM ET

Am I biased maybe a little but I like to think I think of things in a very fair way. PatsFan21 how can you say he is not the CY Young leader....he leads the Majors in Innings Pitched, WHIP, Wins and K's how much do you want from the guy? And HeeHaw I agree someone has to step up and score a run otherwise the pitcher wont win, but the way you put it (atleast how I read it) you are saying that even if a pitcher throws a no hitter or perfect game it means nothing. Pitchers, while they only play every 5th day, throw the ball as much if not more in 10 starts than most positional players will throw all season. Think about it, say a pitcher throws 100 pitches per game, that is 1000 hard pitches thrown. Your average SS or 3B will probably make around the same amount of hard throws in an entire season. Pitcher exert more energy during a game than the other players, they are throwing every play where as not every player on the field is running/throwing the ball on every play. That is why pitchers get rest in between games. I don't know if he will win the MVP but he sure as hell should win the CY Young, his closest competition was Weaver who just gave up 7 runs in 7 ininnings. Verlander ERA 2.38, Weavder 2.28, oh and JV has pitched 14 more innings than Weaver. A .1 difference in ERA is nothing so Weaver does not get the nod there. But JV leading 4 major pitching stats should get him the CY young and atleast put him in the running for MVP.

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