Justin Verlander is having the kind of year that most pitchers can only dream of. He's 22-5 with a 2.55 earned run average in 229 innings. He's allowed just 157 hits and 59 walks, while striking out 232. The league is batting just .191 against the Tigers' ace, who allows fewer than one baserunner per inning.
Verlander probably will win the Triple Crown of pitching -- lead the league in ERA, strikeouts and wins - which hasn't been done since Jake Peavy won the National League Triple Crown of pitching in 2007. And no matter what happens over the next few weeks, the American League Cy Young Award belongs to Verlander.
As a former pitcher, I realize how much a starting pitcher like Verlander can mean to a team. And where would the Tigers be without Verlander? That's a very good argument for the Most Valuable Player Award -- the emphasis on Player.
As good as Verlander has been, a starting pitcher does not affect the outcome of enough games to be the Most Valuable Player. He's going to be involved in maybe 34 games. Granted, in those games, he has been dominant. But there are 127 other games in which he will be irrelevant to the outcome.
Then you start to look at what Curtis Granderson has done in New York -- he leads the AL in runs scored with 126 and RBI's with 109. He is second in home runs with 38. Granderson has affected the outcome of 138 ballgames, compared to the 34 on which Verlander will have an effect.
Verlander ought to get every award there is for a pitcher, but I will never believe that an MVP award should be given to a pitcher. They simply don't have enough to do with the overall outcome of enough games. That is why there is a Cy Young Award to recognize the best pitcher in each league.
If pitchers should be considered in the MVP voting, there would be no need for a Cy Young Award.
Congratulations to Verlander on what I think is a slam dunk AL Cy Young Award. But the "P" in MVP stands for Player, not Pitcher.
Mitch Williams is an analyst for MLB Network. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.