Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera and starting pitcher Justin Verlander were voted the Tigers’ top positional player and top pitcher of 2009, in a vote conducted by the Detroit Independent Baseball Scribes.
Cabrera and Verlander each received 20 first-place votes. Cabrera had a .942 on-base percentage plus slugging average (OPS), which was good for fifth in the American League. He had a .324 batting average, 34 home runs and 103 RBIs. All four categories led the Tigers. His Ultimate Zone Rating of 2.8 ranked second of all AL first basemen.
Verlander led baseball in strikeouts with 269 and was tied for first in the AL with 19 wins. He had an ERA of 3.45. He led the Tigers in all three categories.
Voting was also conducted in two other categories: breakout player of the year, for the player experiencing his first taste of success in the major leagues; and most improved, for the player who made the biggest step forward from the previous season.
Rookie right-handed starting pitcher Rick Porcello earned 18 of 20 votes for the breakout honors. The 20-year-old completed the season with a 14-9 record, 3.96 ERA and 89 strikeouts in 170 2/3 innings. Also receiving votes were right-handed starting pitcher Edwin Jackson (1) and utility player Ryan Raburn (1).
Verlander was also named comeback player of the year, rebounding from a 2008 season which saw him go 11-17 with a 4.84 ERA and 163 strikeouts. He received 11 of 20 votes in the category. Also receiving votes were right-handed closer Fernando Rodney (3), Raburn (2), Brandon Inge (1), Brandon Lyon (1), Jackson (1) and utility infielder Ramon Santiago (1).
Voting was conducted during the week of Nov. 9-15.
Established in 2005, the Detroit Independent Baseball Scribes now has 21 members who write primarily on the Internet. Its member writers are affiliated with such online organizations as MLive.com (Booth Newspapers), SB Nation, ESPN.com, Freep.com, Bleacher Report, Yardbarker, MVN, Fan Blog and Fan Huddle.
The Detroit Independent Baseball Scribes include:
Bless You Boys — Ian Casselberry
Daily Fungo — Mike McClary
DesigNate Robertson — Scott Rogowski
Detroit Tigers Den — Austin Drake
Detroit Tigers Weblog — Bill Ferris
Eye of the Tigers — J. Ellet Lambie
Fire Jim Leyland — Mike Rogers
It’s Just Sports — Patrick Hayes
Jamie Samuelsen’s Blog — Jamie Samuelsen
Mack Avenue Tigers — Kurt Mensching
MLive’s The Cutoff Man — James Schmehl and Scott Warheit
Old English D — Jennifer Cosey
Roar of the Tigers — Samara Pearstein
Spot Starters — Blake Vande Bunte
Take 75 North — Matt Wallace
Tigers Amateur Analysis — Erin Saelzler
Tigerblog — Brian Borawski
Tiger Geist — John Brunn
Tiger Tales — Lee Panas
Tiger Tracks — John Parent
Where have you gone, Johnny Grubb? –Greg Eno