Verlander v. Bautista

Whoever argues that Verlander does or doesn’t deserve to win the AL MVP over Bautista because his team is better is missing the obvious point: his team isn’t better.

W/L              Actual         Pythag
Tigers           77-62          71-68
Blue Jays      69-70          71-68

Tiger batters: .272/.334/.422, 108 OPS+
Blue Jay batters: .254/.318/.423, 98 OPS+

Tiger pitchers: 4.18, 96 ERA+, 1.345 WHIP, 937 K
Blue Jay pitchers: 4.24, 101 ERA+, 1.356 WHIP, 998 K

Verlander’s team is luckier: they’re exceeding their expected W/L record where Toronto is marginally underperforming; they play in a far worse division (Pythag W/L still has them in first place, though by a slimmer margin; the White Sox would be in second at 67-69); and any Tiger advantages in batting are arguably offset by Blue Jay advantages in pitching (as adjusted by ERA+). Verlander may be more valuable to the Tigers, and to the pennant race, than Bautista is to the Blue Jays, but his team isn’t better.

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