The Erie SeaWolves are pleased to announce that former SeaWolves pitcher Justin Verlander has been honored as the 2011 American League Most Valuable Player. Verlander is the first player in the history of the SeaWolves to win the award.
He is the first pitcher to win the award since Oakland's Dennis Eckersley in 1992 and the first starting pitcher to win the award since Boston's Roger Clemens in 1986
The MVP award is given out annually to the top player in the American and National Leagues. Each leagues award is voted on by members of the Baseball Writers Association of America.
Verlander is the seventh player in Detroit Tigers history to win the Most Valuable Player. He is the fourth Tigers pitcher to earn the award, joining Guillermo Hernandez (1984), Denny McLain (1968) and Hal Newhouser (1944, 1945). Hank Greenberg (1935, 1940), Charlie Gehringer (1937) and Mickey Cochrane (1934) also won Most Valuable Player with the Tigers.
Verlander posted a Triple Crown in 2011, leading the American League in wins (24), earned run average (2.40) and strikeouts (250). He was the AL's first Triple Crown winner since Johan Santana accomplished the feat with the Minnesota Twins in 2006. He is the first Detroit Tigers hurler to accomplish the feat since Hal Newhouser in 1945.
Verlander's 24 wins this season were the most in the American League since Bob Welch won 27 games in 1990. The hard-throwing righty also led AL pitchers with 251 innings, a .192 opposing batting average and a 0.92 WHIP (walks plus hits per innings pitched) ratio.
Verlander posted amazing numbers with the SeaWolves in 2005. He made seven of his 20 career Minor League starts with Erie, posting a 2-0 record and 0.28 ERA with 32 strikeouts in 32.2 innings pitched. His Double-A career began with 24.2 scoreless innings over a six-start stretch.
Verlander has now won the American League Rookie of the Year (2006), American League Cy Young Award (2011) and American League Most Valuable Player (2011). He is the second player in major league history to win all three awards, joining Don Newcombe who did so with the Brooklyn Dodgers by winning the National League Rookie of the Year (1949), Cy Young Award (1956) and National League Most Valuable Player (1956).
He was selected by the Detroit Tigers in the first round (second overall) in the 2004 June draft out of Old Dominion University.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.