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Justin Verlander wins AL MVP; Michael Young finishes 8th

Justin Verlander was voted best pitcher and now best player in the American League for the 2011 season. Verlander finished with 13 first place votes and a total of 280 points in winning the MVP award. Jacoby Ellsbury finished second in the voting with 242 points. Jose Bautista finished third and had the second most first place votes with five. Curtis Granderson (3 first place votes) and Miguel Cabrera (2 first place votes) rounded out the top five.

As for the Rangers, Michael Young finished 8th in the voting behind Robinson Cano and Adrian Gonzalez. Young did receive the only other first place vote (That you, Evan Grant? It is!) and finished with 96 points. Ian Kinsler finished 11th in the voting but once again placed lower than Dustin Pedroia at something. Adrian Beltre finished 15th in the voting and even Josh Hamilton showed up in the balloting at #22.

You can view the full voting table here.

Let the debate on if a pitcher is worthy of this award rage on into the night. 

Personally, and likely because the Rangers didn't really have a terribly legitimate horse in this race, I can't seem to muster a side to saddle up with on this topic to join in in the vitriol. Verlander, looking at the years everyone had in 2011, is a defensible choice, in my opinion. He's not the guy I would have picked (I picked Jose Bautista in the SB Nation balloting) but he had a truly elite season for a starting pitcher when those are increasingly rare.

Verlander's efforts included a no-hitter and a lead in nearly every pitching category imaginable, on a team that won a division title, in a year when his main competitors were either Yankees or players on teams that missed the playoffs. If ever there were a year to award this to a great, great pitcher, this is it. (Or 1999. Sorry, Pudge.)

I don't know that the BBWAA got it right, I just don't really care that much if they got it wrong.