I’m not going to argue whether it is right or wrong for a pitcher to win the MVP award. Justin Verlander is a lock for the American League Cy Young and he should, at the very least, be in the conversation of MVP. ESPN’s Keith Law nails it:
I’m not sure what sort of voting calamity would have to occur for a pitcher to win an MVP award, but indulge me for the moment, since the rules for MVP voters do not in any way exclude pitchers, and any voter who omits them entirely is violating the spirit of those rules, if not their letter as well. Such a voter is also ignoring the value that a top-end starting pitcher can create, whether it’s Roy Halladay this year in the National League or Verlander in the American.
The last pitcher to win both Cy Young and MVP awards was Roger Clemens in 1986. For what it’s worth, Justin Verlander’s numbers stack up very favorably. Clemens won the award quite handily receiving 19 first-place votes and 339 points. The runner up, Don Mattingly, received five first-place votes and 258 points. In 1986 Roger Clemens had an unbelievable season which is probably how we’re going to look back and describe Justin Verlander’s 2011 season.
(Source: Sports Illustrated)