Thursday, May 23, 2013

Myths about Justin Verlander and his recent struggles

Justin Verlander: Odds strong he'll figure it out
MYTH - Verlander has never been through this before: This is not an unusually bad start for Verlander. Even in his best season, 2011, when he was the American League MVP and Cy Young Award winner, he was 4-3 with a 3.42 ERA after 11 starts. This season, he is a 5-4 with a 3.66 ERA after 10 starts.
MYTHVerlander is not healthy and is hiding an injury: Look, a pitcher can come up with a bum arm at any time and without warning. But ailing pitchers don't hit 97 mph on the radar gun several times, strikeout nine hitters in five innings against a team which had won 18 of its previous 23 games and they don't come out of an hour-long rain delay snapping off knee-bending curveballs and 94 mph fastballs routinely like Verlander did Wednesday night at Cleveland.
MYTH - Verlander is not the Tigers' ace: Max Scherzer has a 3.61 ERA. It was at 5.73 last year at this time. Doug Fister has a 3.62 ERA. Anibal Sanchez has a very good ERA, but does anybody honestly think he is the Tigers' ace?
It's highly, highly probable Verlander will turn it around, and sooner instead of later.


Blogger spencersteel said...

Verlander 2009 average fastball 95.6 MPH. Verlander 2010 average fastball MPH 95.5 MPH. Verlander 2011 average fastball 95.0 MPH. Verlander 2012 average fastball 94.7 MPH. Verlander 2013 average fastball 93.6 MPH.

You can spin it any way you like, but he's lost 2 MPH off his average fastball from its peak, and velocity, once gone, rarely returns. 6600+ batters faced into his career and at age-30, that kind of drop in velocity is perfectly typical. The good news is it's still an outstanding fastball, and his curveball and changeup are excellent, as is his control. There's no reason Verlander won't remain one of the game's best pitchers for the foreseeable future. He's an extreme power pitcher and will have to (and will) adjust to not being able to throw his fastball by MLB hitters more or less at will.

Unless your name is Nolan Ryan, you're going to have to get used to losing a few ticks off your heater as you age. HOF-level pitchers like Tom Seaver, Roger Clemens and Randy Johnson did it, and so will Verlander. The sky-is-falling people are being as silly as the nothing-to-see-here crowd; he IS a slightly different pitcher than he was in 2011 and at the same time, no, his days of being an ace aren't numbered either. JV probably won't be taking no-hitter stuff out there with him every start out, nor is he going to become Jamie Moyer. For a number of years he had the best fastball in the game. Going forward he can expect to have one of the better fastballs in the game.

5:05 PM 
Anonymous Michael C said...

Great post, Spencer. Very insightful.

1:47 AM 
Anonymous woody said...

in one of the pregame radio chats this week, Leyland said that Verlander appears 'antsy' in his mannerisms. as if he wants the results before they happen. that's a bit difficult to interpret from a fan's perspective...evidently, Leyland believes it's a mental, not physical issue.

12:20 PM 

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