Just How Valuable is Justin Verlander to the Detroit Tigers?

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Justin Verlander put on a show yesterday with his 119 pitch, 14 strikeout, 8 shutout inning performance.  I wish I could say any of his success this year was a surprise but, looking at trends in his numbers and his renewed attitude toward Spring Training set him up for this type of success.  He is the top pitcher in baseball right now and showing no signs of slowing down.

Verlander’s dominance is not hard to quantify.

  • He leads the Majors in wins (10),
  • Strikeouts(124, second place: 119)
  • Innings pitched (128.2, second place: 122)
  • WHIP (.839, second place: .920)
  • 1st in the AL in Win/Loss %
  • 1st in the AL in WAR for pitchers
  • 3rd in the AL in K/BB
  • 4th in the AL in ERA

He’s in the top 5 in the AL for every good statistic I could think of.  His WHIP is almost a half a baserunner per inning better than league average and he’s on pace for the 12th best WHIP ever and the 3rd best since 1913 (Pedro (.737 in 2000) is first and Maddux (.811 in 1995) is second).

And he’s getting better: Over his last 6 starts he’s 6-0 while getting an average of 25 outs per game (8.1 IP) allowing 4 total runs, 4 walks and compiling 51 strikeouts.

The Red Flag pops up though.  Over the course of his career he’s best in July and his new approach in Spring Training (which we documented here) suggests that he may break down earlier this year.  He’s a power pitcher who consistently sees his ERA rise in August and September.  I’m on the lookout for that to happen again but, with his current form and still reaching triple digit RADAR readings after 110 pitches, it’s going to take more than the turn of a calander month to slow Justin down.

Stats of the Day:  1)Justin Verlander has no nickname. To put this in perspective, Jose Valverde has a nickname.  Come on baseball fans, Verlander is not so much fun to say that we can’t come up with something.  This has got to be Shaq’s new job, nickname master.  2) The Pittsburgh Pirates are 39-37 and in 3rd place in the NL Central.  I think this could get interesting, as Pittsburgh is desperate for a winner and I see them being major buyers at the deadline if they continue to play this type of ball.  3) The Atlanta Braves have the fourth best winning percentage in the Majors despite being 18th in the league in runs scored, 25th in batting average and last in stolen bases (6 players have more steals than the Braves)

-Sean Morash

Be sure to visit Off The Bench for more great baseball articles.

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