CSP’S MLB AWARD TOUR – Justin Verlander: King of the Hill

Posted: November 16, 2011 by The Cheap Seat Fan in MLB, Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,

Once, again it’s time to get CSP’s take on the year-end awards for Major League Baseball. So far I have completed my word on both league’s Rookie of the Year nods, as well as Manager of the Year on both halves, but it’s time to kick it up a notch now. Let’s get into the Cy Young Award, where on one half the most obvious bread winner of the year gets his first due, followed by a pretty impressive, yet anti-climactic race for runner-up.

This is a part of my on-going entries towards the Baseball Bloggers Alliance’s year end award circuit, via the Walter Johnson Pitcher of the Year Award (our Cy Young nod). While the winners for the BBA have been announced at-large, over the next week or so, I’ll be setting right what was wrong, and showing exactly why the CSP ballot got it right the whole way through (jokes guys, everybody else did their thing too).

2011 American League Walter Johnson winner: Justin Verlander – Detroit Tigers

Only Verlander and the Tigers had anything to smile about when he left the field this summer.

I mean is there any question here? Verlander turned in one of the most dominant performances of any hurler in the last 20 years, at least. This year’s effort is eye to eye with Greg Maddux in 1995, Randy Johnson in ‘02, Pedro Martinez in ‘99 and Roy Halladay’s double perfect/playoff no-hitter last year. From his notching his own second trip to no-no land in May and taking three other games into at least the sixth inning without giving up a hit. A lot of pitchers get called “automatic” wins when you see them on the schedule, but Verlander literally was. Matter of fact, he went undefeated for two months of the season, which is pretty crazy. He was so dominant that he won his 20th game in August with a full month of the season left, and the next pitcher who hit the mark didn’t for another weeks.

In the end, he won the AL pitching Triple Crown, getting his Major League-leading 24 wins with a 2.40 ERA and striking out 250 along the way. As if this wasn’t enough, he only lost five times and led the league in winning percentage, and only three games he pitched in were lost by more than three runs. An all-time classic performance here; I hope everybody appreciated this campaign.

Left in the Pen

2. Jared Weaver: The Angels’ ace was nearly as unhittable as Verlander was in the beginning of the year. He couldn’t keep up with that pace, but his 2.41 ERA was just .001 behind Justin’s mark.

3. James Shields: He put the team in Tampa on his back, for longer and more often, than any other hurler in the game. His 11 complete games were five more than next best total and he held a 2.82 ERA with them.

4. CC Sabathia: No pitcher carried more weight than CC did this year, literally and figuratively. He was saddled with steadying an uncertain pitching cast in the Bronx, and answered by winning the second most games in the AL with 19 and netting another AL East title.

5. CJ Wilson: The steady lefty headed a solid overall staff in Texas, but really turned it up in his second year as a starter. His 34 starts led the league, while his 2.94 ERA, 206 strikeouts and 16 wins were all career highs

To keep up with everything baseball and around the diamond, even when the stadiums are closed for the year, follow me on Twitter at @CheapSeatFan

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