Only a handful of pitchers have won the MVP award, something that most voters reserve for high-impact hitters.
Pitchers have their own award, they say, but when one of them is so good that his contributions exceed those of any hitter in the league, they deserve MVP consideration, too.
However, as MLB puts it: “at 39, JV is arguably having his best season.”
There is a chart that proves it.
At 39, JV is arguably having his best season. 👀 pic.twitter.com/AI2VIAbvNt
— MLB (@MLB) August 23, 2022
Through 22 starts, the veteran right-hander, who is almost 40, is pitching like a 26-year-old flamethrower in his prime.
Granted, he has pitched 22 fewer innings than 11 years ago, but his ERA is considerably lower at 1.95.
He is striking out hitters at roughly the same pace, and holding them to a batting average under the Mendoza line.
A Career Renaissance
Verlander is incredibly difficult to hit against, and is enjoying a career renaissance in Houston.
During his last healthy season, in 2019, he won the Cy Young award in the American League.
He missed most of 2020 and 2021 while undergoing elbow surgery, but when everybody left him for dead, he is having one of the strongest seasons by an AL pitcher this campaign.
Wins were arguably the driving factor behind Verlander’s 2011 MVP campaign.
He had a great ERA at 2.40, but won 24 games in 251 frames.
Baseball has changed, and wins are probably not as important now.