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Justin Verlander named Player of the Year by the MLBPA. Harbinger of an MVP?

Nov 4, 2011, 8:45 AM EDT

New York Yankees v Detroit Tigers - Game 3 Getty Images

The MLBPA Player’s Choice Awards aren’t as big a deal as the BBWAA awards, but they’re not nothing.  The players certainly think they’re significant as anyone who is awarded something by their peers is likely to feel.  Justin Verlander certainly feels that way, as his comments after being awarded the MLBPA’s Player of the Year award last night make clear.

What interests me is whether this award is a harbinger of Verlander winning the MVP.

In the 13 years the Player of the Year Award has existed, the players voted for a guy who went on to win the MVP award six times, with all six of them coming in the last ten years.  The players, like the BBWAA, are likewise not crazy about voting for pitchers, having given the Player of the Year award to a pitcher only once: 1999 to Pedro Martinez. Martinez should have won the MVP that year too, but that’s another rant.

Another potential harbinger is the Sporting News Player of the Year award, which Verlander also won this year.  In the past ten years, the winner of that award has gone to be win the MVP award seven times.  And again, the award is not handed out willy-nilly to pitchers, so the fact that Verlander won it is somewhat significant.

Obviously anything can happen with this stuff and obviously we won’t know for sure who wins the MVP award for a couple of weeks. But I can’t shake the notion, based on how the season ended — Boston flaming out and Jose Bautista‘s second half being somewhat less-electrifying than his first — and based on the sentiment from the non-BBWAA award givers, that Verlander is gonna take home the hardware everyone cares about.

  1. massivedick - Nov 4, 2011 at 9:43 AM

    he should win it as compensation for those stupid a$$ playoff rain delay starts alone

  2. canucks18 - Nov 4, 2011 at 10:03 AM

    Why do people not realize that the MVP should be given to a player and obviously the pitchers have the CyYoung!!! It’s simple, how can a guy that is playing 1 out of 5 games be considered for the MVP. I think it’s weak

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 4, 2011 at 10:20 AM

      Because pitchers routinely won the MVP award (and it’s precursors) when they were initially given out. Also, if you feel pitchers shouldn’t be eligible for the award since they only pitch 1/5 games, should DH’s be ineligible since they don’t pitch nor field? I mean that’s 2/3 of the game!

    • Alex K - Nov 4, 2011 at 10:29 AM

      I’m not sure of the numbers but starting pitchers usually face more hitters per year than hitters get plate appearances. So they directly effect more PA in their 1 out of 5 days than a hitter does in his everyday.

  3. florida727 - Nov 4, 2011 at 11:07 AM

    I’m pretty squarely in the camp that says pitchers have their award (the Cy Young, obviously) and the players that go 162 should be the only ones that qualify as candidates for the MVP. The pitcher is unquestionably the most dominant/important player is any given game. Every “play” starts with them. But I just can’t get past the 1-out-of-every-5 thing.

    • kellyb9 - Nov 4, 2011 at 11:29 AM

      You had me until this line “The pitcher is unquestionably the most dominant/important player is any given game.”

      • florida727 - Nov 4, 2011 at 4:48 PM

        Based on the thumbs down count, I guess others don’t share your viewpoint. Since nothing in baseball happens until the pitcher throws a pitch, who then IS more important in a game?

  4. philliesblow - Nov 4, 2011 at 11:20 AM

    Pitchers like Verlander that go 7 or 8 innings every start have more than a 1 in 5 game impact. Jim Leyland said many times this year that he knew he could go to his bullpen more on the day before or after a Verlander start because he knew he wouldn’t need much relief pitching on JV days.

    The hitter equivalent of the Cy Young is not the MVP, it’s the Hank Aaron Award, given to the top hitter in each league. The MVP is top player, regardless of position.

    • florida727 - Nov 4, 2011 at 4:51 PM

      Based on your last paragraph, I reserve the right to change my opinion :)

      I guess since the Aaron award is not talked about as prominently as the Cy Young, I overlook it. But you’re right. Position players do have their own award, so the MVP should be wide open. Thank you for correcting my thinking.

  5. Kyle - Nov 4, 2011 at 1:44 PM

    Agree that pitchers should be able to win the MVP. Do not think Verlander is the MVP.

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