Now this is a little late, but it needs to be said. 2011 was the year of MVP snubs. First off Justin Verlander definitely didn't deserve to win MVP. I can name the reason. For starters Verlander's season wasn't even close to one of the greatest seasons of all time. You look at his ERA+ and yes it is above average, but so was Clayton Kershaw, so was Roy Halladay, but they didn't win MVP. In my opinion Kershaw had a better season. He had a lower ERA, a higher strikeout per nine innings. The reason Verlander won was because he had 24 wins, but Kershaw had 21 wins on a bad team. Don't get me wrong Justin Verlander deserved Cy Young, but MVP...no. If Pedro Martinez couldn't win it in 1999, then Verlander shouldn't have won it in 2011. Now if you look at the two position players that deserved it, it was Jose Bautista or Jacoby Ellsbury. Jose Bautista had the highest WAR and OPS+ in the AL. He led the MLB in home runs and walks. If I recall Barry Bonds did that on multiple occasions and he won MVP for doing it. My personal pick though is Jacoby Ellsbury. Ellsbury had a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger and the Comeback Player of the Year. He was also the first Red Sox to go 30-30. Also he had the 2nd most hits, the most total bases and most extra base hits. Two years ago he was a premier base stealer, now he's a five tool player. He had an MVP year, but they gave it to a pitcher.
Second, Ryan Braun shouldn't have won either. Before Braun tested positive he still wasn't the best player, but I'll get into the Braun/PED situation another time. Ryan Braun had a fantastic season, but he had another MVP quality player on his team in Prince Fielder. Now if Prince wasn't on the team and the Brewers made it to the playoffs, Braun would have been MVP. Now take into account Verlander won MVP, which he shouldn't have, then Claton Kershaw or Ian Kennedy should have won MVP. If you look at Brauns numbers and the fact that he had Prince hitting behind him, he shouldn't have won. Now Matt Kemp, he should have won MVP. Matt Kemp was on the verge of the triple crown and a 40-40 season. Matt Kemp made the Dodgers hard to beat. On a statistical stand point, Matt Kemp was better than Ryan Braun in almost every category. Ryan Braun had a higher batting average, but Matt Kemp had a higher WAR, more home runs, more RBIs, more steals, the highest OPS+ in the NL and the most total bases in the NL.
So why did Verlander and Braun win MVP? Because their teams made the playoffs. The writers missed the fact that it was Most Valuble Player in their respective leagues, not Most Valuable Player on a playoff team.