Verlander, Braun win MVP
By Cam Cain 11-22-11
With 13 out of the 28 first place votes, the Tigers ace has become the first MVP in franchise history since closer Willie Hernandez in 1984. He is the first pitcher to win MVP since 1992 when A’s closer Dennis Eckersley won with 51 saves. There has long been a debate as to whether pitchers should win the Cy Young Award. Both sides have decent points. I am split on this decision.
Yes. Pitchers should win the MVP:
Pitchers should definitely be able to win the MVP if they are deserving. It is most valuable player, not just most valuable hitter. Since 1991, 6 pitchers have led their respective leagues in WAR. Verlander is the only MVP of the bunch. If they are the best player in the league, why not give the award to them?
No. Pitchers should not win the MVP:
I am not denying that pitchers should be eligible for MVP. I just wouldn’t vote for one if I had the choice. The thing is, pitchers aren’t everyday players like your first baseman. It rarely happens nowadays that your pitcher is on the field for 250 of your innings. I could see picking a pitcher if it was back in the ’20s when pitchers threw 350+ innings a season and complete games on 2 days rest regularly. This was before there was a real bullpen. But this is not how it works anymore.
As a side note, Ryan Braun won the MVP of the National League. Braun’s vote was boosted largely by playing for a first place team. Many people expected Matt Kemp, who led the majors in WAR and runs batted in, to win the MVP. Kemp also led the NL in home runs. I do think that the writers made the right decision in picking Braun. Braun led the NL in OPS, a simple measure of being effective at getting on base and hitting for power. He was also very valuable to the success of his team.
In other news…
Free agent outfielder Grady Sizemore will remain in Cleveland. “We look forward to Grady getting back on the field and having a healthy and productive 2012 season,” says Indians GM Chris Antonetti. When Sizemore declined his option earlier this offseason, it officially made him a free agent. Sizemore signed a 1 year deal with the club.
The Twins signed catcher Ryan Doumit and the Royals resigned pitcher Bruce Chen. Texas has signed closer Joe Nathan. Nathan had been a star with Minnesota since 2004, making 4 all-star games and saving at least 40 games 3 times with 47 saves in 2009. Nathan did not pitch in ’10 due to injury.
My predictions as to who should win the regular season awards.
By Cam Cain 10-29-11
Everybody tries to pretend that they are part of the group that votes on the end-of-the-season awards. But we’re not. However, it’s always fun to try and say who you think should win. So that brings me to my choices for each of the awards.
AL MVP: Justin Verlander Detroit Tigers
Verlander was simply dominant on the mound this year. He led all Starting Pitchers in Wins with a remarkable 24, ERA at 2.40, innings pitched with 251, WHIP at 0.92, and strikeouts with 250. He also had a WAR, or Wins Above Replacement (I don’t understand that entirely) of 8.6, higher than any American League hitter or pitcher. However, I think that the writers will not give the award to Verlander because he is a pitcher and some people say that pitchers have their own award, the Cy Young Award and MVP is for hitters.
Runner up: Curtis Granderson- New York Yankees
NL MVP: Ryan Braun Milwaukee Brewers
This was a difficult one to choose between Braun and Matt Kemp because without Kemp, who very nearly won the triple crown, Los Angeles would be dead last. Along with first baseman Prince Fielder, Braun had led the Brewers to the second best record in the National League. Most Valuable Player basically means the player who is most important to his team’s success. That perfectly describes Braun. He led the league in OPS, On Base Percentage plus Slugging Percentage, with .994. He also hit a remarkable .332 with 33 Home Runs and earned a trip to his fourth consecutive All Star Game.
Runner up: Matt Kemp- Los Angeles Dodgers.
AL Cy Young: Justin Verlander Detroit Tigers
Same reasons I said earlier
Runner up: C.C. Sabathia- New York Yankees.
NL Cy Young: Clayton Kershaw Los Angeles Dodgers
Kershaw, like Verlander, has won the pitching triple crown for his respective league; leading the league in strikeouts (248), Wins, (21) and ERA (2.28). It is amazing that Kershaw has won 21 games for a team that has only won 82, winning nearly 26% of his team’s games. This is in large part due to a very strong second half in which Kershaw was 8-1 with a 1.32 ERA.
Runner up: Ian Kennedy- Arizona Diamondbacks
AL Rookie of the Year: Jeremy Hellickson Tampa Bay Rays
This was a wide open race from the beginning and a very difficult decision between 4 or 5 viable candidates. But it was the Tampa Bay right-hander who I chose. Hellickson made 29 starts and went 13-10 with a 2.95 ERA.
Runner up: Ivan Nova- New York Yankees
NL Rookie of the Year: Craig Kimbrel Atlanta Braves
Never since 1981 have both of the Rookies of the Year been pitchers when Fernando Valenzuela and Dave Righetti won the award. There is no reason that Kimbrel shouldn’t win here. Kimbrel led all closers in saves with 46 and shattered the Rookie save record set last year by Neftali Feliz. He also had an ERA of 2.10.
Runner up: Freddie Freeman Atlanta Braves
AL Manager of the Year: Joe Maddon Tanpa Bay Rays
NL Manager of the Year: Kirk Gibson Arizona Diamondbacks