There has been a lot of talk over the merit of Justin Verlander winning the AL MVP. Pitchers don’t play enough or they have their own award are the most common arguments. Neither argument holds much weight. A pitcher hasn’t won the award in almost 20 years, and ironically, 4 of the 11 times the AL MVP award was won by pitchers, they’ve been Detroit Tigers.
It’s the MVP…most…valuable…player. Period. Not most valuable position player, or most valuable player not eligible for the CY Young. If voters automatically disqualify pitchers because of the Cy Young award, shame on them. If they don’t, and they are not going to vote for Justin Verlander, then I ask them “what single player in baseball would you accept in a deal for Justin Verlander”.
The only pitchers I can make a semi-logical argument for is Clayton Kershaw or maybe Tim Lincecum or Jeff Weaver. However, I wouldn’t take any over Verlander. Weaver was second fiddle to Verlander in every category and suffered through a late season slump when his team needed him most. Kershaw and Lincecum are dominating lighter hitting NL lineups. Verlander is dominated everyone, including DH’s.
As for hitters, you have the young, unproven Bryce Harper. Despite what Nats’ fans might say, I say no way. I’ll take proven talent anyday. Matt Kemp and Curtis Granderson are two possibilities but they’ve been merely good until this season. Albert Pujols? Nah, too old. Josh Hamilton? Injury prone. Adrian Gonzalez is great, but I might be more inclined to take Miguel Cabrera…and there’s no way that Cabrera is even the Tiger’s MVP over Verlander.
Ryan Braun might be the only guy I’d even consider. He’s been awesome his whole career, is still young and is a plus fielder. But, and the biggest but, he plays in the NL and his value vs. Verlander is technically irrelevent when it comes to the AL MVP voting.
So hopefully voters don’t get caught up in the unwritten rules surrounding the MVP award, because to me the most valuable player in baseball is Justin Verlander—well, maybe Ryan Braun but forget about that for now.