Justin Verlander won the American League Cy Young award today. On Friday, the BBWAA will announce their winner of the AL MVP award. In that 72 hour period, you're going to read a lot of bullcrap columns about why pitchers don't deserve MVP votes.
Here's the thing, I would be sympathetic to the idea that because the Cy Young is exclusively for hurlers there should be an award just for hitters. And there kind of is; it's the Hank Aaron award for being good at hitting a baseball or something. If you've never heard of it that's because it's not very well publicized and not thought of in the pantheon of ROY, MVP, Cy Young and Gold Glove. It's a neat idea though.
But how about that Most Valuable Player?
You're going to read arguments that because a pitcher only plays every fifth day, he isn't as valuable as a non-pitcher. Indeed, it's a unique position in sports, and it would seem that a pitcher functions as something of an infrequent contractor, and not a constant presence on the field. Whatever. That's a hunk of crap and you know it.
Jose Bautista had 655 plate appearances and 252 fielding chances. That's 907 opportunities to influence the game.
Justin Verlander faced 969 batters and had 50 fielding chances. That's 1,019 opportunities to influence the game.
Conclusion: Even though they only play every fifth game, elite pitchers earn themselves as many, if not more opportunities to get in on plays as anyone else.
Of course, I'm not saying that this should simply be a contest of workload. But when you have a dude who hit a lot of home runs versus a dude who won the pitching triple crown, it's ridiculous to say there's no debate because one isn't a full time player.
Get it right, a-holes!