It’s supposed to be a hitter’s category. In fact, the last time a pitcher was chosen as the American League MVP, the Oakland Athletics were the dominant dynasty and Dennis Eckersley, the famed starter-turned-reliever, took home the trophy after killing hitters with his unorthodox style. Before that, you’d have to flip back 25 years to Roger Clemens dominance on the mound. That’s how rare the company is for Justin Verlander, who was announced today as the winner of the American League MVP Trophy.
The win comes on the heels of the Cy Young Award and cements Justin Verlander’s place among the single best pitchers in baseball. In fact, his 2011 season is among the single best pitching performances in recent baseball history. 24 wins against 5 losses. League leading totals in innings (251) and strikeouts (250). An incredible WHIP of 0.920. If you play fantasy baseball, you might know what that means. The bottom line is that he was as dominating as anyone else, and that’s why Verlander walked away with it.
Next in line was Jacoby Ellsbury, the amazing centerfielder for the Boston Red Sox. Jose Bautista, the masher for the Toronto Blue Jays, took third place in MVP voting in a display this year that undermined the critics who believed he was a one-year wonder (a la Brady Anderson).
Curtis Granderson, Miggy Cabrera and Michael Young all received first place votes as well.