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Tigers writer goes it alone, gives Verlander his Cy Young vote

Nov 17, 2009, 5:32 PM EDT

Steve Kornacki of Booth Newspapers was the lone writer to give Justin Verlander a first-place vote in the AL Cy Young balloting announced Tuesday. The decision didn’t cost Zack Greinke a unanimous selection — Felix Hernandez claimed two first-place votes — but it did move Verlander past CC Sabathia into third place in the voting.
Kornacki defended his decision in a blog entry, though he hardly built much of a case:

Verlander received my first-place vote because nobody was tougher on the mound with the season on the line for his team.
Verlander threw at least 120 pitches in six of his last eight outings and won his last three starts, forcing a one-game playoff against the Minnesota Twins with his final victory.
He was an inspirational ‘horse,’ using Tigers manager Jim Leyland’s term for him, on a fading team.

Kornacki is never foolish enough to come out and say that Verlander was the AL’s best pitcher. He knows it’s not true. Instead, he’s trying to use the typical MVP argument for an award that is simply meant to honor the league’s top performer.
Verlander was exceptional for the Tigers down the stretch, and it is admirable that he maintained his performance with such a heavy workload. Still, it’s not a point in his favor that he has so many 120-pitch outings. Verlander just isn’t equipped to record quick outs.
So, Verlander won his last three starts. He lost the two before that. His ERA actually bottomed out in late July. He was 7-4 with a 3.94 ERA over the final two months. That’s impressive, but not exactly dominant.
Overall, Verlander finished with a 3.45 ERA in 240 innings. He had a terrific season, and the Tigers certainly wouldn’t have been in the race without him. He wasn’t, though, the AL’s best pitcher in any way, shape or form. Kornacki deserves plenty of flak for picking him.

  1. Joey B - Nov 17, 2009 at 6:36 PM

    Fairly simple, imo. Disqualify writers from voting that are blatant homers. Actually, it calls into question the issue of hometown bias in his coverage of the Tigers. No reasonable person could cast a vote for Verlander if they were unbiased. As a RS, Drew hammered the ball down the stretch, so should I forget the first few months and give Drew the MVP? Should I forgive Papi his first two horrible months, or forget Lester’s slow start?
    The writer should be disqualified from further voting. Barring holding people accountable for their actions, you could simply not allow voters to vote for someone on the team they cover. How often does someone like Varitek get a bonus for a 10th place MVP vote because the writer is kissing up? Follwed to its inevitable conclusion, eventually politicians will be given major awards for no other reason than ‘heck, we like the guy’.

  2. Michael - Nov 17, 2009 at 9:09 PM

    In the land of steroids, who cares who wins anything in baseball. They turned it into WWE with bats. Look at the blown calls by refs. Protect the big names who cheated. MBL is has become a joke. They might as well have Vince McMahon run it.

  3. Old Gator - Nov 17, 2009 at 9:22 PM

    I think this guy grew up with a poster of the East German olympic diving judge on his wall.

  4. divers torch - Jan 28, 2010 at 9:08 AM

    Fantastic work. You have gained a new reader. I hope you keep up the good work and I eagerly await more of the absorbing posts. may I use a link to this article in my blog please?

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