The “Justin Verlander should be given MVP consideration” train has been gaining steam this past week. Buster Oleny is shoveling the most coal, but I suppose he’ll be joined by others soon.
I don’t deny that he should be given consideration. The rules of the MVP award are clear in stating that pitchers should be considered. Says so right on the ballot the writers fill out. And, of course, pitchers have been the MVP before even if there have been some times when they’ve been screwed out of the MVP award, though, as any fan of Pedro Martinez could tell you.
So no, I don’t think one should leave a pitcher off the MVP ballot. But as the Verlander talk heats up, it’s worth noting that his manager does. Here’s Jim Leyland on a WXYT radio yesterday:
“I have a different viewpoint than that. I think there should be a Most Valuable Pitcher and Most Valuable Player. I don’t think a pitcher should be the Most Valuable Player. I’m not looking for arguments or controversy I just think when a guy goes out there 158 times or 155 times and has a big year, an MVP type year I don’t think the guy that goes out there 35 times should be named over that guy.
Interesting. I don’t agree with him, but interesting.
And for what it’s worth, consideration is one thing and giving a guy the award is something else entirely. I would consider Verlander. But though I have yet to sit down and really think about it yet this year I think Jose Bautista has to be the guy to win it because (a) I don’t believe that the quality of one’s teammates should have any bearing on whether they win an individual award; and (b) Jose Bautista has simply been a better, more productive baseball player than Verlander has been this year.