Verlander adds MVP to hardware collection

For the first time since 1992, a pitcher has won one of baseball’s MVP awards. Justin Verlander, winner of the Triple Crown and the AL Cy Young award took home the honors in a split vote that saw six different players receive a first place vote.

Dennis Eckersly was the last pitcher to win the award when he did so with the Oakland Athletics in 1992 and Roger Clemens was the last starting pitcher to win back in 1986.

It’s been over 10 years since Pedro Martinez finished second back in 1999 with a season that was more impressive than Verlander’s and it seemed a long shot for Verlander to win even after absolutely dominating the American League and being one of only two star players on a Detroit team that went on to win a Division Title.

As with most major award voting, a strong case can be made for other candidates, but Verlander seems incredibly deserving for leading a Tigers team into the playoffs after many writers picked them to finish behind Chicago and Minnesota.

According to baseball-reference.com’s WAR formula, Verlander tied for the AL lead with 8.5 WAR. The player he tied with, Jose Bautista didn’t make the playoffs and played on the fourth place Toronto Blue Jays. Bautista finished third in the voting.

According to the Fangraphs version of WAR, there were other players (even one other pitcher, CC Sabathia) that finished with a higher number than Verlander.

But in the old school stats, which so many times dominate award voting, Verlander cleaned up. The pitching Triple Crown was an incredible accomplishment, and Verlander also led the league in innings pitched and WHIP while coming in second in xFIP.

Verlander is the fifth Tigers player to win the MVP award. Despite the fact that hitters have won the award the vast majority of the time, all five of the Tigers winners have come on the mound.

Used with permission of the author.

Brett is the editor and a contributor for www.BravesFTW.com. He has covered MLB and the Braves for numerous websites and is a regular contributor to Sports Climax. Follow Brett on Twitter.

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