A lot of people don’t like it when pitchers win MVP awards, but Justin Verlander’s incredible year with the Detroit Tigers got him both the AL MVP and the Cy Young Award, the first pitcher to do the double since 1992. In the NL, Ryan Braun’s edged out Matt Kemp for the MVP award while Clayton Kershaw won the Cy Young for the Dodgers.
Justin Verlander – AL MVP and Cy Young Award Winner
Winning the AL Triple Crown with a 24-5, 2.40 ERA was enough for Justin Verlander not only to win his first AL Cy Young award, but become the first pitcher since Dennis Eckersley in 1992 to win the MVP and Cy Young. He’s the first starting pitcher since Roger Clemens to do the double. More Specialness? Adding his rookie of the year award from 2006, Verlander is now one of only two players, alongside Don Newcombe to win the MVP, Rookie of the year and Cy Young.
Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers, the Hebrew Hammer, who won the rookie of the year in 2007, won his first NL MVP award, despite being considered a long shot by the bookies. Braun led the NL in slugging with .594 and in OPS with .994. His offensive WAR of 7.1 was second in the league and his 33 home runs with 111 RBI while hitting .332 earned him his 4th consecutive Silver Slugger Award.
Clayton Kershaw won the NL pitching Triple Crown, obviously handing him the Cy Young award, along with his first Gold Glove award. Kershaw was a shining light in the Dodgers iffy season, going 21-5 with a 2.28 ERA and a 9.6 K/9 ratio. He is the first Dodger since Sandy Koufax to win the triple crown (1966).
Craig Kimbrel’s 46 saves were a National League best (tied) and a new record for a rookie, giving the Brave’s reliever the Rookie of the year award. Jeremy Hellickson of the Tampa Bay Rays was another pitcher to win ROY, this time in the AL, finishing his first full season as a starter with a 13-10, 2.95 ERA stat line. He played 2 complete games and managed 1 shutout.
Mark Buehrle of the Chicago White Sox won his third consecutive Gold Glove award as an AL pitcher. Kershaw, as mentioned above, won it for the NL. Matt Wieters of the Baltimore Orioles, also making his first All-Star game, won the AL Catcher GG, while World Series Champion, Yadier Molina, won his fourth consecutive Gold Glove for the NL.
1B – Adrian Gonzalez of the Boston Red Sox won his third GG award, Joey Votto of the Reds won his first, a year after his NL MVP award. 2B – Another Sox player, Dustin Pedroia, won his second GG. Another Reds player, Brandon Phillips, won his third.
3B – Adrian Beltre had a fantastic 2011 with the Texas Rangers, winning his third GG and third Silver Slugger award. The Phillies’ Placido Polanco also won his third GG. SS – Erik Aybar won his first GG or any award for that matter playing shortstop for the Angels, Troy Tulowitzki of the Rockies completed his second consecutive GG-SS double.
Outfielders – Alex Gordon (Royals, first time), Jacoby Ellsbury (Red Sox, first time) and Nick Markakis (Orioles, first time) won it in the AL. Gerardo Parra (Diamondbacks, first time), Matt Kemp (Dodgers, second time) and Andre Ethier (Dodgers, first time) won it in the NL.
David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox – His fifth SS award, this time as a DH hitting 29 home runs, 96 RBI while batting .309, his best since 2007.
Daniel Hudson, Arizona Diamondbacks – His first SS award as a pitcher for the Diamondbacks. Had 14 RBI while batting .277, both career bests.
Alex Avila, Detroit Tigers – His first SS award as a catcher. Had 19 home runs, 82 RBI and hit a .295.
Brian McCann, Atlanta Braves, Catcher – His fifth SS award and fourth consecutive. The six time All-Star hit 24 home runs with 71 RBI, averaging .270.
Adrian Gonzalez, Boston Red Sox, 1B – His first SS, making the GG-SS double. Had 27 home runs with 111 RBI while hitting a career high .338.
Prince Fielder, Milwuakee Brewers, 1B – His second SS, hitting .299 with 38 home runs and 120 RBI.
Robinson Cano, New York Yankees, 2B – His second SS award, hitting .302 with 28 home runs and a career high 118 RBI.
Brandon Phillips, Cincinnati Reds, 2B – His first SS award to go along with the GG, hitting .300 for the first time in his career, going along with 18 home runs and 82 RBI.
Adrian Beltre, Texas Rangers, 3B – His third SS, making the GG-SS double for the first time. He hit a .296 with 32 home runs and 105 RBI.
Aramis Ramirez, Chicago Cubs, 3B – Surprisingly, only his first SS. Ramirez hit .306 with 26 home runs and 93 RBI.
Asdrubal Cabrera, Cleveland Indians, SS – The young Venezualan also made his first All-Star game this year. He hit .273 with 25 home runs and 92 RBI.
Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado Rockies, SS – Completed the SS-GG double for a second consecutive season. He hit .302 with his first 30-100 season, with 30 home runs and 105 RBI.
Curtis Granderson, New York Yankees, CF – His first SS award, leading the AL in RBI, Granderson had an MVP-type year (finishing fourth in the voting) , hitting .262 with 41 Home runs and 119 RBI.
Jacoby Ellsbury, Boston Red Sox, CF – The comeback player of the year also got the GG-SS double, hitting .321 with 32 home runs and 105 RBI.
Jose Bautista, Toronto Blue Jays, RF – Finished third in the MVP voting, winning his second SS. Bautista led the AL in home runs for a second straight season, hitting 43 to go with 103 RBI and a career best .302 batting average.
Ryan Braun (See MVP Winners).
Matt Kemp, Los Angeles Dodgers, CF – Led the NL in runs scored, home runs, RBI and OPS+, finishing second in the MVP votes. Won his second SS award. Hit .324 with 39 home runs and 126 RBI.
Justin Upton, Arizona Diamondbacks, RF – Won his second SS award and finished fourth in the MVP voting. Upton hit 31 home runs with 88 RBI, a .289 batting average and led the league in being hit by pitches with 19.