Wednesday, August 18, 2010

In defense of Justin Verlander...

Justin Verlander has the same career ERA as Jack Morris did, 3.90. He has 10 more wins - with several starts remaining in the current season - than Morris did at age 27.
In his career, on a club with questionable offensive firepower much of the time, he is 27 games above .500.
He has rarely missed a start because of injury. Since 2006, the Tigers, overall, are 34 games above .500. They are only five games above .500 in decisions not involving Verlander.
Since the start of the 2009 season, Verlander is 32-17 - 15 games above .500. In decisions not involving Verlander over the same time period, the Tigers are nine games below .500.
It's not exactly like the Tigers' hitting attack is carrying Verlander, is it?
At the age of 27, Roy Halladay, went 8-8 with a 4.20 ERA during an injury-plagued season with the Toronto Blue Jays.
Verlander really struggled Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium. His command of his fastball was awful. Yet, he still managed to pitch five innings, allowing just three runs in a band box ball park against baseball's most formidable team. He kept the Tigers in the game.
Yet, there are people out there, who evidently think Max Scherzer, based on a few good starts, is actually the Tigers' ace. Look - and I can almost guarantee you Max Scherzer feels this way - he can only hope to be as good as Justin Verlander some day.
They are probably the same people who in June were referring to Scherzer as a bust and Brennan Boesch as the next Ted Williams.
Yeah, there are times, considering the level of his ability is so high, you can't help but think Verlander could be even better.
It shouldn't, however, diminish what he has accomplished, which has been considerable.
Nor take away from the notion Verlander is the very least of the Tigers' problems.

Random Thoughts

- If only Demar Dorsey had gotten into the school, Donovan Warren not left for the NFL, Boubacar Cissoko not gotten in trouble with the law, Justin Turner not left the program and Troy Woolfolk not suffer a serious ankle injury, Michigan's football secondary would be terrific.
Michigan had many issues last season. I thought the secondary was the biggest one. Can't imagine how it won't be again in 2010.

- Hey, the San Francisco Giants are in contention for a postseason spot behind the 1-2 punch of Aubrey Huff and Andres Torres. No, that isn't haunting Tigers. Nah, not in the least...

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12 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Book,
I wrote you last week about Verlander and how he is eerily similiar to Jack Morris. You nailed it on the head. Jack didn't really get it together until after about 5 years in the majors.
The talent is there it just takes awhile for the head to catch up. I predict in the next 2-3 years he is going to have a season where he is untouchable see B. Gibson '68, Carlton '72 or one of Pedro's great seasons. It's going to happen we just don't know when. We have to be patient.
By the way just as a conversation starter, I can't shake the feeling that the Tigs should consider trading a HoF-bound Cabrera for several good players to balance their lineup. No one probably agrees with this but I think as great a hitter as he is, his salary makes him equivalent to what ARod was to the Rangers earlier in the decade.I would feel different if there was a plethora of hitters in the minor-league sytem but there aren't so something's gotta give.
Alan

4:18 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pat,

Thank you for this rebuttal. I completely agree with you about Verlander. I think your colleague's piece this afternoon was completely off-base, so thanks for being a baseball voice of reason in this town.

As for Torres and Huff, I was completely blown away that Huff got the contract he did. I'm even more surprised that he is living up to it. Outside of a 9th inning game-tying home run, Huff was worse than awful for the Tigers last season. For Torres, it appears that he is a late-bloomer in the vein of a Carlos Pena or a Phil Nevin (minus the power, of course). Good for them. I can't say I blame the Tigs for giving up on those guys, though. They certainly didn't show much when they were here.

Travis

4:29 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Verlander is a real talent, top of MLB pitchers.

His only problem is that he sometimes is "hyper" and pitches way to fast in his throwing motion. You can tell that his brain is going 100 MPH also.

It's like a golfer with too quick of a swing transition from the top of his backswing.

If he could just relax during the game, you would see the best pitcher in baseball.

Maybe he needs to do some yoga before the game.

6:14 PM 
Blogger Core Contrarian said...

I think a lot of it is the "what have you done lately" mindset of many fans.

After a good outing, I typically hear how great and underrated he is.

After a bad outing, I hear how overrated he is and not an "ace".

I think the guy is a very, very good pitcher who could be great with just a touch more consistency.

That is my opinion after he wins and also after he loses.

10:24 PM 
Anonymous Michael C said...

I agree with Core Contrarian. He is a bona fide ace, but he's a step below the truly elite guys. He's a top 10 pitcher in the majors, but is probably in the bottom half of that list.

Though as a fly ball pitcher he does benefit from playing in Comerica. I couldn't see him matching Sabiathia's production if he played half his games in the Yankees ballpark. But he's still a great pitcher that could one day be even better.

2:39 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To me, the real question is will Justin Verlander ever become the gamer that Jack Morris was? For now, I don't see it. Even though Verlander has better raw talent,when it really mattered, Morris would turn it on ,consistently, that made him a great. Dave

8:55 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Alan,
Verlander has made significant progress the last two seasons. 2008 was disappointing, but he seems to have learned from it. He needs to work on keeping his pitch count in early innings down.
Caputo

1:51 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Travis,
Pena and Nevin were premier prospects, but Torres was somebody who flashed very little. I can't believe he has become this good of a player. Amazing story.
Caputo

1:52 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Anonymous,
Good point. It appears sometimes like he loses grip of situation and speeds up delivery.
Caputo

1:54 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Core Contrarian,
Couldn't agree with you more. It's like Verlander gets little credit when he pitches well - which is most of the time - and blasted when he has a rough outing, which isn't often.
Caputo

1:56 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Michael C,
I agree he has been a step below the "elite" guys this season, but he was one of the "elite" guys last year and didn't really get credit for it. Also, his body of work over the last five seasons definitely makes him "elite."
Caputo

1:57 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Dave,
I don't know about that. He was really strong under difficult situations last season. He didn't come through in the W.S. in '06, but did go into Yankee Stadium and get it done.
Caputo

1:58 PM 

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