Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Rise and Fall of Justin Verlander

If you told people 3 years ago that Justin Verlanders 2011 was a fluke year they would probably laugh and say no way, but now in the middle of 2014 Verlander is just 6-5 with a 4.19 ERA in 86 innings. He is giving up 3.7 BB/9 which is up almost 2 full walks from 2011 and his strikeouts are down to 6.4 per 9 which is down from averaging 9 strikeouts per 9.

He has noticed his fastball has been moving much slower as his fastball is down to 93 MPH when it used to be 95 MPH, it is the only pitch that has a dropped and it is the one causing the biggest effect. His strikeouts are down, his walks are up, hitters are seeing the ball better against him, and it can all be traced back to the drop in velocity. In his peak year of 2011 hitters batted .191 against him and his WHIP was 0.92 which was fantastic and proved he was one of the best pitchers of the game, if not the best.

Going into 2012 expectations were naturally high for Verlander as he had just finished off one of the best seasons in recent memory going 24-5 with a 2.40 ERA and leading the league with 251 innings pitched and easily winning the Cy Young Award. After a really good 2012 where he went 17-8 with a 2.64 ERA he wasn't as good as he was in 2012 with "only" a WHIP of 1.05 and a average against of "only" .215. After that season he wasn't the same.

Going into the 2013 season Verlander had lost a 1 mile off his fastball and it was at 94, which was still above the league average, but not how hard as he usually threw it. He had a season that was not up to his standards going 13-12 with a 3.46 ERA which was disappointing considering how well he threw the ball the bast 2 years. His decline was most notable with a 1.31 WHIP which was up nearly .3 points and a batting average against of .251.

 Now it is June 11th, of 2014 and Verlander still hasn't found the magic that he had in 2011. An ERA over 4 is almost a foreign language to him and he isn't the same anymore. The Tigers are in a bad spot as they signed him to a big extension paying him 180 million through 2019 and if he is going to be an average pitcher then it will be a rough 5 years for them.

No comments:

Post a Comment