Thursday, March 13, 2008

Justin Verlander

There has been a lot said about the Tigers offense in 2008 and how many runs they might score. Some say 1000 is not out of the question, I say they are on crack. 900 isn't out of the question, though, and they should definitely have one of the 3 or 4 highest scoring teams in the majors. But what about the pitching? Let's start with the brightest of the Tigers pitching stars.

You know the name, you know the game: Justin Verlander

He just turned 25 a few weeks ago, yet his career list of accomplishments is already growing to be quite impressive.
  • 2nd overall pick out of Old Dominion in the 2004 draft
  • 2006 American League rookie of the year
  • 2007 American All Star
  • 7th place in the 2006 American League Cy Young voting
  • 5th place in the 2007 American League Cy Young voting
  • Highest W/L percentage in the American League in 2007
  • First Detroit Tiger to pitch a no hitter since 1984
  • Started 2 games in the 2006 World Series
But beyond just the anecdotes and traditional stats, Verlander has been putting together quite the meteoric rise up the MLB pitching heirarchy. Consider his improvements from 2005 (spot callup starts) to 2006 (rookie season) to 2007 (full blown ace):

Wins and Losses
2005: 0-2
2006: 17-9
2007: 18-6

2005: 7.15
2006: 3.63
2007: 3.66

Batting Average Allowed
2005: .313
2006: .266
2007: .233

On Base Percentage Allowed
2005: .389
2006: .328
2007: .309

Slugging Percentage Allowed
2005: .479
2006: .414
2007: .358

Strikeouts per 9 IP
2005: 5.56
2006: 6.00
2007: 8.17

Strikeout to Walk Ratio
2005: 1.40
2006: 2.07
2007: 2.73

Home Runs per 9 IP
2005: 0.77
2006: 1.02
2007: 0.89

What's not to love about this kid's career trajectory? He is consistently improving his numbers across the board showing better control and more strikeouts and allowing fewer baserunners and fewer hard hit balls. He just turned 25 and has superstardom ahead of him. Considering the offensive support he is likely to garner this year, he must be considered amongst the favorites to win the Cy Young in 2008.

A guess at some not out of the question numbers for Justin Verlander in 2008:

32 starts, 210 innings, 22-6, 3.11 ERA, 230 strikeouts, 70 walks

Heck, 23 or 24 wins isn't out of the question for this kid with a high scoring offense backing him up, especially with his skyrocketing strikeout rate. Did you know that from June 1st on last year, his K rate jumped from 6.62 to 8.96? Yep, he started out slowly but then posted a number of big K games.



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