Jason Fielder: Verlander my choice for Cy Young, MVP - WNEM TV 5

Jason Fielder: Verlander my choice for Cy Young, MVP

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SAGINAW, MI (WNEM) -

Forget the Cy Young, Justin Verlander is an MVP. 

Yes, I know he only plays every 5th game.  But it's what he does every 5th day for a team that truly needs him to dominate that makes him the AL MVP (so far) this season.

The facts (courtesy Mike Rosenberg, Detroit Free Press):

Starting with his no-hitter in Toronto on May 7, Verlander has started 20 games.  In that 20-game period ...

  • The Tigers are 17-3.
  • Opponents have an on-base percentage of .217 vs. Verlander,  a slugging percentage of .270.
  • Verlander has thrown an average of 7 2/3 innings.
  • His earned-run average is 1.86.

This season, the Tigers are 19-8 when Verlander pitches and 46-50 when he doesn't.

Now, for more stats to back Verlander's case (courtesy of me):

  • He leads Major League Baseball in wins with 18. 
  • 3rd in MLB in ERA (among starters that qualify) at 2.31.
  • 1st in MLB in WHIP (walks plus hits per inning) at 0.88.
  • 1st in MLB in Strikeouts with 204.
  • 1st in MLB in Innings Pitched at 202.2
  • 1st in MLB in Quality Start percentage at 89%.

I know that some guys have put up some very gaudy numbers (Granderson, Adrian Gonzalez, Jose Bautista) and they play every day, in the infield and outfield. 

BUT, I while Grandy and AGonz are both great players, I argue that they both may not even be the most valuable players on their own team (Cano, Tex, Sabathia on NYY; Ellsbury on BOS). 

Also, both Grandy and AGonz have great lineups surrounding them and play in hitter-friendly parks (which also inflate their stats). 

Now, as for Jose Bautista, yes, he is the best hitter in the AL this year, and if anyone deserves the MVP over Verlander, it is him.  BUT, he has missed 12 games this season, and Toronto's record in those games is 6-6. 

I know I am grasping at straws here, but if he were so valuable to his lineup (which of course, he is) then you would think that Toronto's record would be much worse without him. 

Right now, Verlander is the AL Most Valuable Player. 

Even if he wins his final 8 scheduled starts, he still may not win the award.  But he deserves it, and I don't think I am being too much of a "homer" in arguing his case.

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