Monday, February 25, 2008

This Could Just Be The Beginning For Verlander

Baseball, at times, gets overloaded with statistics, and facts and figures. It is to the point where many are rendered meaningless. But I don’t feel that way about the facts the Associated Press recently dug up about Justin Verlander.
According to the AP, he is the first pitcher in history to throw a no-hitter, pitch in the All Star game and the World Series, along with being named Rookie of the Year, during his first two seasons.
That, and fact he has compiled a 35-15 record his first two full seasons, is very impressive. There is no issue about who the Tigers opening starter should be. It is going to be Verlander. He is without question the staff ace. He earned that distinction last season by closing strong after a lull following the all star break.
Verlander throws so hard, has such good command of his off speed pitches and is such an extraordinary athlete, I do wonder if he has just scratched the surface. I think on a national scale, he hasn’t garnered the hype of some other pitchers, but I’d take him over the likes Johan Santana, C.C. Sabathia, Jake Peavy and Brandon Webb. The only starting pitchers I think might be better are Josh Beckett and Roy Halladay.

Random Thoughts

- Who is the better player, Shaquille O’Neal or Rasheed Wallace? Call me crazy, but I’d take Wallace. As for why, just look at the game tape from Sunday’s Pistons’ game at Phoenix. The game has changed. A big man like Shaq doesn’t have the value he once did. Versatile big men such as Wallace are more valuable.

- Yeah, if I were the Red Wings, I’d be concerned about scoring goals - especially from the second line. It’s why they might be wise to bite the bullet and pay more than they wanted for a front line scorer at the trade deadline.

14 Comments:

Blogger Rick said...

Pat, Ver is an awesome pitcher. The only knock on him (REALLY) is that he has to get his pitch count down. When he has thrown 50 pitches through three innings, we aren't going to see many "quality starts." He is a horse, there's no doubt about that. It's great that he's a Tiger! Cy Young, 23 wins in '08? What do you think!

9:37 AM 
Blogger Fred Brill said...

Book,
I saw that same piece on Verlander this weekend – I liked Verlander’s response … “cool!”.

I don’t see baseball statistics as a reflection of the truth in pitching – but these accomplishments aren’t “stats” – but career milestones – and impressive no matter how you slice the old pie chart.

Perhaps we can put to bed finally the lingering misnomer that Bonderman is our ace – although if Bondo wants the title back he can always earn it.

I’m also interested to find out about this new outfielder to be platooning with Thames? I haven’t heard anything about the new Jones. I just can’t keep up with all the Joneses.

I agree with your overall sentiments on Shaq and Rasheed – but would like to tweak it – it is not the whole NBA we are looking at here – it is the fleet footed suns. As the pendulum keeps swinging back and forth between big power vs fast agility – the pendulum will swing back to big and powerful again when everyone is fast and agile, and a team comes up with another gorilla like Shaq was who will dominate.

Shaq just ain’t a good fit for the Suns. And they don’t know what to do with him. And you called it.

It wouldn’t break my heart to have a conversation regarding Tiger Woods – the gauntlet he recently laid down to the rest of PGA boys – and how he is on track (ok its only February ) to do just what he says – which is basically to win everything this year. I love watching match-play golf.

The Wings could get Sundin from the Leafs – but only if you want to put him out to stud. There is no other value there. He looks good on a poster.

Go Tigers.

11:54 AM 
Blogger Barry said...

Hey Pat: What I really like about Verlander is he has two fastball speeds. It like he has two change-ups. His one fastball he lobs in around 91 to 94 m.p.h, then he can fire one in at 100 m.p.h. Some hitters will sit on a certain pitch but if hitters sit on a 92 m.p.h fastball and one comes in a 100 m.p.h, you can tell by the hitters body language that it is hard to catch up to 100 m.p.h when expecting 92 m.p.h. His other two pitches are great too. The best thing that happened to Andrew Miller was to get traded, he needs a team that will develop his talent and a third pitch. Image how good he will be if he develops a third pitch that is as good as his slider and fastball. Remember Verlander did not do well in his first call-up. I understand the Tigers are into winning now and not into developing or nurturing young pitchers. He was too predictable last year throwing continually inside with his 93 m.p.h fastball against right handers. Getting an innings eater like Willis is cool though.

1:03 PM 
Anonymous Danny said...

Pat, no doubt Sheed is way better today than Shaq - especially when the game is important and he is on his A game.

On Verlander - there is no limit to what he can possibly do if he can stay healthy and strong like Morris. What a gem.

Just after I wrote about Zumaya a couple of blogs back, I read about the trip from California to Florida - icing on the crazy cake. I am afraid Joel just doesn't get it. That was just plain stupid on all levels and he was bragging about it...

Cheers,
Danny

3:35 PM 
Anonymous Andrew Winkle said...

Pat the Book,

As far as Cheli is concerned the yolk is on me, from head to toe! I'm glad I wasn't bragging about the Lions being 6-2 at Halloween. That would be scary.

I come in Friday evening from skating on the lake rink with my kid and ask how the Wings doing? Down 1-0. Next question I ask is, how much is Chelios playing? He's not, he got hurt. No sooner do I extol the wonder of his durability then he ends up getting hurt. Big ouch!

I'm not so sure about Rick's 23 wins and Cy Young prediction for Verlander but what the hey, fans should hope for the best. Personally, if he could produce a 20 win season I would be delighted. It has been a long time since a Tiger pitcher produced a 20 win campaign.

My memory is failing me. Jack Morris did have at least one 20 victory season with the Tigers, didn't he? Maybe two? If not, then that would mean that Joe Coleman from the 70's would be the last Tiger pitcher to win 20 in one season. That would be way too long ago.

Wings need to find a way to get back to their winning ways. Seems like the Stars are aligning in Dallas on the ice. Reminds me of that auto rear view mirror caution, "objects in mirror may be closer than they appear".

5:55 PM 
Blogger Rick said...

Andrew, If Bill Gullickson (yep, in like '93?) can win 20, then Ver can pick apart 23!

10:59 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Rick,
Great point about Verlander. He wastes too many pitches in the early innings, which forces him out of games early. He needs to improve that this season to help the Tigers bullpen, which is suspect.
Caputo

12:09 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Fred Brill,
I don't think Bonderman is in the same class as Verlander. Look at their career records. Verlander is nearly 18 games above .500 while Bonderman is six games below .500 - and Verlander's career ERA is nearly a run less.
Caputo

12:11 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Barry,
One of the best things about Verlander is has a great feel for pitching and command of his off speed pitches. It is why he is still effective even when he doesn't have his best fastball.
Caputo

12:12 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Danny,
I think Shaq was a great player. I don't believe he is anymore. And I feel Rasheed is vastly underrated because he isn't a statistics guy.
Caputo

12:13 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Andrew Winkle,
It was Bill Gullickson in 1991. Morris won 20 games once with the Tigers. Coleman did it, too, as did Mickey Lolich in the 1970s.
Caputo

12:15 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To think the Reds passed on Verlander and took Homer Bailey instead.

5:57 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Anonymous,
It was the opposite - the Tigers passed on Bailey and took Verlander. Bailey has a chance to be pretty good, but the Tigers made the right choice - obviously.
Caputo

10:13 AM 
Anonymous Tom Mohan said...

You're not crazy Book, I would take Rasheed over Shaq at this stage of their respective careers hands down.

7:56 PM 

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