NEW YORK (AP) - Justin Verlander was ready to jump into the debate.
Shortly after winning the AL Cy Young Award on Tuesday in a unanimous vote, the Detroit Tigers‘ ace took on the far more intriguing question: Will he capture the MVP trophy, too?
“Do I think it’s possible? Yes. Would I like to win it? Of course,” he said during a conference call. “It’s kind of a weird scenario.”
No starting pitcher has won the MVP since Roger Clemens in 1986, wit`h Dennis Eckersley the last reliever to get it in 1992. Many say pitchers shouldn’t win the MVP, period, contending they already have their own award.
His season _ he won the pitching version of the Triple Crown, led Detroit to its first division crown in 24 years and drew every first-place vote in the Cy Young race _ definitely has ratcheted up the discussion in a crowded MVP field that includes Curtis Granderson, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jose Bautista, Miguel Cabrera and more.
“I’m so different from everybody,” he said.
If he doesn’t win, Verlander said he’d like to see Granderson, his former teammate, get the award.
Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers is the favorite to win the NL Cy Young when the results are released Thursday. He won the NL pitching Triple Crown, leading with a 2.28 ERA and 248 strikeouts and tying for wins at 21.
The AL and NL Managers of the Year will be announced Wednesday.
Verlander breezed to the Cy Young, much the way he humbled hitters with his 100 mph fastball, sharp curve and wicked slider.
Verlander led the majors in wins by going 24-5 and topped baseball with 250 strikeouts. His 2.40 ERA was the best among AL pitchers who qualified for the title.
The 28-year-old righty was listed on top on all 28 ballots by members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America and finished with 196 points.
Jered Weaver (18-8, 2.41) of the Los Angeles Angels was the only other pitcher listed on every ballot and second with 97 points. James Shields of Tampa Bay was third with 66, followed by CC Sabathia of the New York Yankees with 63. Tigers reliever Jose Valverde, who was perfect in 49 save chances, was fifth with 28.
“Since the end of the season, people have been saying that the Cy Young is wrapped up,” said Verlander, who added he waited until the announcement to celebrate.