Verlander deserves it
The award isn't for most outstanding player, or player of the year. It's for the most valuable player, and last time I checked, pitchers were players too.
Justin Verlander is on the verge of winning pitching's version of the Triple Crown, leading the American League in wins (by five), in strikeouts (by 20) and in ERA. Sixteen of his 24 wins have come after Detroit losses.
The argument is that pitchers have their own award. But the Cy Young Award goes to the outstanding pticher, not the most valuable.
A player's value is supposed to be taken into account by MVP voters. This year, American League voters shouldn't have to look any further than Verlander to find their man.
Stats support pitchers
The Most Valuable Player should go to the person who is just that, regardless of position. That's not an opinion, it's written on the ballot.
If a pitcher made a bigger contribution to his team than any other player, he is inherently the MVP. Some might argue that a player who takes the field every five days can't be more valuable than one who plays every day, but statistics don't bear that out.
Wins above replacement, a stat that encompasses all facets of the game to measure how many victories a player contributed to his team over a minor leaguer or bench player, is applicable to both pitchers and position players.
Who's neck-and-neck with Jose Bautista in the AL, according to baseball-reference.com? Justin Verlander.
Position players only
Los Angeles Times
Given the discrepancy in the potential impact of a position player and a pitcher, it would take something phenomenal — a 25-win season or sub-1.00 earned-run average — for a starting pitcher to merit strong consideration for the Most Valuable Player award.
Position players compete every day; starting pitchers, once every five days. So in one week, a position player could hit five homers, drive in 15 runs and make several sparkling defensive plays, while a pitcher could, at best, throw a shutout that helps his team win one game.
Being most valuable means having the greatest influence, thus it is almost impossible to fathom a pitcher earning that distinction.
Absolutely they should
All questions should be as simple as whether pitchers should be able to win MVP awards. Of course they should. Read the rules for voting. They do not disqualify pitchers. They do not say that it's an award for position players. So any voter who doesn't think he should ever consider a pitcher for a spot on the 10-player ballot should recuse himself from voting.
But with that said, the rules also say that one consideration for voting is games played, and that tilts voting heavily against a modern starting pitcher, who works 32-35 games. It might help explain why more relievers have won over the last three decades than starters.
It's going to be fascinating to see if Justin Verlander can hold off center fielders Curtis Granderson and Jacoby Ellsbury, and right fielder Jose Bautista in this year's AL voting.