Don't forget Halladay in MVP discussion

Over the last week or two, Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander has gained increasing support -– or at least motivated discussions – to be considered not only the American League Cy Young winner, but also the league’s Most Valuable Player.

2011 Season Comparison

The discussion certainly has a great deal of legitimacy, but then you cannot ignore the credentials of Philadelphia Phillies starter Roy Halladay to win the MVP in the National League.

Whether using traditional or advanced statistical tools, Halladay has been, at the very least, Verlander’s equal.

When looking at all-encompassing stats like Wins Above Replacement (WAR), Halladay outpaces Verlander and edges him in Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) by a noticeable margin.

Halladay leads in both categories despite a batting average on balls in play (BABIP) of .317, well above his career average of .293. Conversely, Verlander has been the beneficiary of some luck, with a depressed .233 BABIP, compared to a .286 career mark.

When it comes to WAR, Halladay’s 6.9 is the highest in the National League. Verlander’s 6.3 ranks fourth in the American League.

Best Fielding Independent Pitching
Starting Pitchers This Season

Further, Halladay has done a better job of separating himself from other pitchers in his own league. Halladay has a 1.3-WAR gap between himself and the second-best National League pitcher, Clayton Kershaw (5.6). Verlander has just a 0.2-WAR gap between himself and the next-best pitcher in the AL, CC Sabathia (6.1).

Of course, the voters like wins, and Verlander has four more than Halladay (19-5 vs 15-5) entering play on Saturday. Pitcher wins are influenced by factors far beyond just the individual pitcher, such as run support, the timing of those runs and quality of opponents. But on that note, did you know that the Phillies have a .769 win percentage this season in games started by Halladay, while the Tigers’ mark is .714 in games started by Verlander?