Verlander named Sporting News' MLB Player of the Year
Except Justin Verlander, who acknowledged his offseason would probably be pretty busy by saying, "I'll probably talk to you guys in a couple of weeks." Anything but being cocky, it was a nod toward the fact that at the conclusion of the postseason, the awards circuit would ramp up, and Velander's expected to win his share after a dominant season.
Sure enough, another of those offseason awards came in Friday, as the Tigers' ace was named the Sporting News' 2011 MLB Player of the Year. He was the first pitcher since Orel Hershisher in 1988 to win the award, voted on by MLB players.
"He's had one of the best seasons for a pitcher. Ever," said Yankees ace CC Sabathia, one of Verlander's key — albeit distant — competitors for yet-to-be-announced awards like the Cy Young.
Verlander, of course, led all big league pitchers in nearly every statistical category this season, including wins, strikeouts, innings pitched and pitches thrown.
The next key date for Verlander's offseason is Tuesday, Nov. 15, when the American League Cy Young is announced. The closest he'd ever previously come to winning the award was finishing third in the 2009 balloting.
After that, there's a chance he may be on a conference call on Monday, Nov. 21, when the AL MVP is unveiled.
Verlander is a four-time All-Star and former Rookie of the Year. On Wednesday, he and Alex Avila were named to the Sporting News' postseason AL All-Star squad.