Tuesday, August 2, 2011

CC Sabathia making MVP case

Forget the Cy Young award. CC Sabathia is making a strong case for Most Valuable Player honors.

The trend has been to give the MVP award to everyday players, with some baseball writers flatly refusing to vote for pitchers for MVP because they have the Cy Young. Dennis Eckersley was the last pitcher to win an MVP award in 1992. Can Sabathia defy the trend of ignoring pitchers in this category? He will have to contend with some strong MVP candidates, whether it is Adrian Gonzalez with the Boston Red Sox or Sabathia's teammate Curtis Granderson.

But in the strictest definition, Sabathia has become the player that the New York Yankees simply cannot live without. Sabathia is now 16-5 with a 2.55 ERA pitching in the American League East (after winning 19 and 21 games in his first two years with the Yankees). But the numbers don't do him justice. If the Yankees are on a winning streak, they can count on Sabathia to extend it. More importantly, if they are on a losing streak, they can count on their ace to end it.

With 16 wins already this season and a reputation for being a big second-half pitcher, Sabathia could easily wind up with 22 or more wins, which would account for more than 20% of his team's victories. If Sabathia can continue his current dominance (and he has shown no signs of slowing down as seen last week with his near-perfecto), it will be difficult for the baseball writers to ignore those numbers, even if he is a pitcher.

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