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Justin Verlander: WOW


Spy Fox

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What a season he is having.

20-5, first AL pitcher with 20 wins before September since Clemens in 1997.

Since May 7: 18-2, 1.99 ERA, .512 OPS vs, 0.84 WHIP.

He has lasted at least 6 innings in every one of his 29 starts this year. He has not had a no-decision since May 24.

The Tigers are 21-8 when he starts, 52-52 when he doesn't. He IS the difference in that team. Without him, they are still contenders but only because they are in a very weak division.

He is the slam-dunk Cy Young winner in my opinion.

I expect he might get some MVP votes as well, but I think one of Granderson, Gonzalez, or Bautista will and should be the MVP.

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he took some time to develop just like Randy Johnson did.

? Rookie of the Year in 2006, at least 17 wins every year since except for 2008. Think he's been able to harness it a little quicker than the Big Unit, who led the majors in walks for 3 years early on in Seattle.

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Like many, I think it's a good idea to look at objective value metrics when talking about MVP, and in a vacuum Bautista has a clear edge in terms of wins above replacement.

However, that line of thinking mistakenly evolves into looking at context-neutral statistics only.

One could make a very real case that the value of the marginal wins provided by Verlander far outweight that of the wins provided by Bautista. I think it's a mistake to restrict MVP voting to players on contending teams, but the reality is that the Tigers might well have missed the playoffs with a replacement starter in lieu of Verlander.

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If there is a truly landscape-altering pitcher such as Verlander in any season, I wouldn't be upset to see them win the MVP.

However, if I had a vote I think I would always vote for a hitter. Not because pitchers can't be more valuable than hitters, but because I've always associated the MVP with the most prolific/influential hitter of that season, even though the award was not initially intended this way if I recall correctly.

For reference, the most recent pitchers in each league to win the MVP are Dennis Eckersley (AL, 1992) and Bob Gibson (NL, 1968).

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One of the arguments against a pitcher for MVP is obviously that they only get to help the team ever 4th/5th game, so they don't have as big an impact on their team's success. However, I heard an interesting stat today to rebut that. On Colin Cowherd's show today, an emailer was comparing Verlander to Granderson and said that Verlander's batters-faced plus plays he is involved with in the field is a bigger number than Granderson's at-bats plus plays he is involved with in the field.

I might be butchering that, does it make sense?

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One of the arguments against a pitcher for MVP is obviously that they only get to help the team ever 4th/5th game, so they don't have as big an impact on their team's success. However, I heard an interesting stat today to rebut that. On Colin Cowherd's show today, an emailer was comparing Verlander to Granderson and said that Verlander's batters-faced plus plays he is involved with in the field is a bigger number than Granderson's at-bats plus plays he is involved with in the field.

I might be butchering that, does it make sense?

Yep, makes good sense and is the reason I don't fully agree with the every 5th day argument. It's hard to quantify what fraction of the game outcome is based on pitcher's performance, but it doesn't hold up to just say "He only pitches once every five days, and even then not usually the whole game, so he impacts less than 1/5 of your total team results." The batters may play almost every day, but in any given game each position player contributes only about 1/9 of the team's offensive and defensive production.

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I don't buy into the notion that a pitcher can't win the MVP, or that somehow the two awards are separate. If they wanted to have an MVP award for just offensive players, name it as such. Call it the Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Stan Musial, or whatever award, but right now such a thing doesn't exist, and Verlander has been just as valuable to his team as anybody has been to theirs. In my view, he has been the most valuable, and he should win the award, even though I doubt that he will.

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Like many, I think it's a good idea to look at objective value metrics when talking about MVP, and in a vacuum Bautista has a clear edge in terms of wins above replacement.

However, that line of thinking mistakenly evolves into looking at context-neutral statistics only.

One could make a very real case that the value of the marginal wins provided by Verlander far outweight that of the wins provided by Bautista. I think it's a mistake to restrict MVP voting to players on contending teams, but the reality is that the Tigers might well have missed the playoffs with a replacement starter in lieu of Verlander.

Doesn't this mean the Jays would be like 20 games under .500?

Also...do we think Bautista would have played better on Detroit? Or if we traded Bautista to Detroit for Verlander the question is, would they still have the same, better or worse records. Why does Bautista get punished here for the mediocrity of his teammates that he must rise above. But Verlander gets credit for being in a competitive environment with fan, media and team support that Bautista might not get.

The real question is Bautista was on Detroits team that how many more wins would that have given them to push over the 52-52 in Verlander's non starts and how many games of Verlanders would they have lost. Let's not forget the won-loss record of the team isn't on the starter only. Bautista's presence could have made substantial impacts at 3b for Detroit.

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Doesn't this mean the Jays would be like 20 games under .500?

I'm not 100% sure what you mean by this.

Also...do we think Bautista would have played better on Detroit? Or if we traded Bautista to Detroit for Verlander the question is, would they still have the same, better or worse records. Why does Bautista get punished here for the mediocrity of his teammates that he must rise above. But Verlander gets credit for being in a competitive environment with fan, media and team support that Bautista might not get.

The real question is Bautista was on Detroits team that how many more wins would that have given them to push over the 52-52 in Verlander's non starts and how many games of Verlanders would they have lost. Let's not forget the won-loss record of the team isn't on the starter only. Bautista's presence could have made substantial impacts at 3b for Detroit.

I think you have to assume that the performance would be neutral (except for park and league effects), but I do agree that Bautista has had a more productive and thus "valuable" season in a vacuum. Bautista would probably get my vote. All I said was that "one could make a very real case that the value of the marginal wins provided by Verlander outweigh that of the wins provided by Bautista." I don't think that's necessarily the right way to view things, but it's not crazy. I think there's more wiggle room in this discussion than just lining guys up by WAR in descending order.

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