I’m usually not in favor of a pitcher winning the league’s Most Valuable Player award. I buy into the position players have an impact on more games theory. But there are exceptions to every rule. In 2011, no player was more valuable to their team than Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers.
He won the triple crown of pitching in the American League, with a 2.40 ERA, 250 strikeouts, and 24 wins. His wins and strikeout total led all of baseball and his ERA was 4th in all of baseball. He also led the Major’s in innings pitched and his 34 starts was tied for the top. In addition, he led all of MLB in two more important categories as well, batting average against was a minuscule .192 and the all important WHIP of 0.92 (walks and hits per 9 innings pitched).
The Detroit Tigers don’t win the AL Central without Verlander having a great year. A season as dominant as his deserves the Cy Young award, but it also deserves the MVP. He may not win the MVP, as some voters just flat refuse to vote for a pitcher, but there is no question he is the Most Valuable Player in baseball.
All stats pulled from mlb.com