Justin Verlander wins the AL MVP Award

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You can stuff your “pitchers can’t win the MVP Award” nonsense in a sack, mister, because Justin Verlander just won the 2011 MVP Award.

Verlander — the first starting pitcher in 25 years to be named MVP — got 13 of 28 first place votes.  He only got 27 of a possible 28 overall votes, however, meaning someone left him off because they want to make their own rules for the MVP and not follow BBWAA guidelines. Which is fun.  In other hilarious voting totals, Michael Young got a first place vote. You’ll never guess who cast it. Seems boneheaded to me.

Following Verlander in order: Jacoby Ellsbury, Jose Bautista, Curtis Granderson, Miguel Cabrera and Robinson Cano.

As we noted last week when he took the Cy Young, Verlander won the AL’s Triple Crown of pitching with 24 wins, a 2.40 earned run average and 250Ks.  He also led the AL in winning percentage, innings and opponents’ batting average. His 24 wins is the most for a pitcher since 1990 when Bob Welch won 27 games.  Of course Verlander’s season was way better than Welch’s, which tells you all you need to know about wins.

There are going to be people who rant and rave about this. Don’t listen to them. No, Verlander’s season was not historic for a pitcher, but that’s not the standard for making a pitcher an MVP.  He was outstanding and each of the position player candidates had a flaw, either in their legitimate candidacy or in the accepted narratives voters tend to like (e.g. they play for a winning team, etc.).

A perfect storm, if you will, blowing the MVP hardware in Justin Verlander’s direction.

Jonny Venters is back in the majors

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The Rays announced on Wednesday that the club purchased the contract of lefty reliever Jonny Venters from Triple-A Durham. The 33-year-old hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 due to a continuous battle with arm injuries. The Rays note that he has undergone two and a half Tommy John surgeries, which is a number that seems to be in dispute.

Venters signed a minor league contract with the Rays in December. With Durham so far this season, he gave up two runs (one earned) on four hits and five walks with six strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings.

Before the injuries, Venters was among the best relievers in 2010-11. In those two seasons, he posted a combined 1.89 ERA with 189 strikeouts and 82 walks in 171 innings.