The Detroit Tiger Weblog



« | »

Justin Verlander in 150 words or less

Justin Verlander, the young stud pitcher and AL Rookie of the Year winner in 2006 was anointed ace of the Detroit staff and named the Opening Day starter. However with a 6.43 ERA and only one win he’s been anything but an ace.

Early on there were concerns when his fastball lost velocity. He changed his arm angle and found some mph’s and a tighter breaking ball. But still the results haven’t caught up to his stuff. It has led a former Tigers pitcher to think Verlander is injured, and others to think that Justin is in need of some Doc Halladay type adjustments.

A look at his components is encouraging because he’s not being hit hard, but he is walking too many and not striking out enough. Tigers fans need optimism about Verlander, because remaining playoff hopes rest largely on his shoulder.

Posted by on May 13, 2008.

Tags:

Categories: 2008 Season, Players

24 Responses

  1. Next Tiger 20-game loser?

    by jason on May 13, 2008 at 11:03 pm

  2. Early on there were concerns when his fastball lost velocity. He changed his arm angle and found some mph’s

    Even with the adjustment, he’s still 4-5 mph shy of where he was last year.

    by Jeff M on May 13, 2008 at 11:50 pm

  3. No, he’s dropped mph on his fastball on purpose to prolong his career. Because pitchers throwing in the mid 90′s with an ERA above 6.00 really last a long time in this game. If he eases off a bit more and gets that ERA above 7.50, he could pitch well into his 40′s!

    by Rick G on May 14, 2008 at 7:52 am

  4. The injury concern is a big worry. That’s why I don’t understand why it seems like he’s often pushed as far as he can go in all of his starts. When he looks like he’s out of gas, they need to pull him, not have him battle through it. Let’s hope he gets it going a bit tonight.

    by Blake on May 14, 2008 at 11:03 am

  5. One thing I’ve routinely heard regarding Verlander is that he has sound mechanics, so I’m not so certain he’s pitching through an injury. It’s my guess something needs to be tweaked with his motion, because it’s the walks that are killing him. His other peripherals are pretty much in line with the previous two seasons, with the exception of K’s and BB’s. Take a look at the numbers from fangraphs:

    http://www.fangraphs.com/stats.....position=P

    by Mark in Chicago on May 14, 2008 at 11:45 am

  6. I’m not so sure if something needs to be “tweaked”. My suspicion is that his shoulder isn’t allowing him to throw from the same arm slot that would result in maximum velocity. Of course, he can still get guys out at 93 anyway. His command has been off, though.

    by Chris in Dallas on May 14, 2008 at 12:19 pm

  7. **Of course, he can still get guys out at 93 anyway. His command has been off, though**

    Yes, but until he’s up to 97 mph – 98 mph, I don’t think we’ll see the Ks increase to where they should be.

    by T Smith on May 14, 2008 at 12:29 pm

  8. **Yes, but until he’s up to 97 mph – 98 mph, I don’t think we’ll see the Ks increase to where they should be.**

    That may or may not be true. In ’06 he had a really low K rate for the stuff that he features, but he still won 17 games and posted a nice ERA and won the Rookie of the Year and all. The problem is he’s on pace for around 100 walks and 30 HR allowed, which would easily be career highs in those categories.

    by Chris in Dallas on May 14, 2008 at 12:44 pm

  9. Why does everyone think you need 98 mph heat to strike people out? Peavy has never thrown a baseball 98 mph and he was the triple crown winner last year.

    I’d like to see him be able to rear back and throw 99 with at least some regularity again, but I’d rather see him spotting 93 on the black. I also think that control, not velocity, is his problem. Even when he has had control this year, he hasn’t had good command of the strike zone.

    by Eric Cioe on May 14, 2008 at 1:54 pm

  10. I wonder if Verlander (and Bonderman, for that matter) are intentionally backing off velocity in order to add sink to their fastball. I recall Bondo saying at one point that he wanted to throw more 2-seamers with a lot of sink to induce more contact and keep the pitch count down.

    If this is the case, it smacks of Chuck Hernandez essentially fixing what wasn’t broken and changing the way these guys pitch.

    Maybe they are down with velocity because they are off the HGH, or whatever.

    This is all speculation, obviously, but I wonder if there’s anything going on here.

    by Mark in Chicago on May 14, 2008 at 1:58 pm

  11. Why does everyone think you need 98 mph heat to strike people out?

    The idea of a picher who can simply blow it by everyone has a very strong appeal. It’s glamorous. Maybe 2006 got us used to the idea that, as long as the Tigers had that, they were invincible. There sure was a lot of hoopla over triple-digits that year.

    by Sean C. in Illinois on May 14, 2008 at 2:04 pm

  12. That would be pitcher.

    by Sean C. in Illinois on May 14, 2008 at 2:05 pm

  13. Mark

    If this is the case, it smacks of Chuck Hernandez essentially fixing what wasn’t broken and changing the way these guys pitch.

    Or it could be a case of Hernandez fixing what was going to break or what he thought was breaking. I don’t know. This could be an adjustment period we’ll appreciate later. Maybe much later, like 2009.

    by Sean C. in Illinois on May 14, 2008 at 2:10 pm

  14. Plenty of guys don’t throw 98 but rack up the K’s. Johan Santana comes to mind. The only reason I really care is that a big drop in velo often indicates an injury. Jason Schmidt, anyone? Also a 98 mph pill makes Verlander’s curve that much more devastating. But again, he should still be able to get guys out at 93.

    by Chris in Dallas on May 14, 2008 at 2:34 pm

  15. I remember someone posting something after Verlander’s last start about stats indicating he’s been consistently running out of steam this season at about 75 pitches.

    by Sean C. in Illinois on May 14, 2008 at 2:50 pm

  16. I think that was billfer posting about Bonderman. I could be mistaken.

    by Chris in Dallas on May 14, 2008 at 2:58 pm

  17. The last game I was at Verlander’s fastball routinely hit 95-96, topping out at 97 a few times…..and I only ‘caught’ about 1/3 of the readings tops.

    Mark – that is correct, I read a couple of places early in the year that Justin was intentionally throwing slower to facilitate more movement on his pitches.

    The velocity is important because, all else being equal, guys with greater velocity rack up more K’s and have greater success.

    Yes you can rack up the K’s with a decrease in velocity, but you better improve in another area, deception, movement, control, etc….to compensate.

    by greg on May 14, 2008 at 3:03 pm

  18. Good point, Sean C., kinda like Tigers Woods breaking down and then rebuilding his swing. I can see that.

    Frustrating in the short-term, though

    by Mark in Chicago on May 14, 2008 at 3:22 pm

  19. Chris, Billfer may have posted the same thing about Bonderman, but there was some game thread post (I think) where someone – maybe Dave BW – whipped out some stats on Verlander pre- and post-75 pitches. Looked like a stark difference to me, but then again, there was no comparison to a norm. I would guess that few if any pitchers are BETTER after 75 pitches. But the point probably wasn’t that, but where the cutoff point was for Verlander.

    by Sean C. in Illinois on May 14, 2008 at 3:24 pm

  20. Mark, that’s just a guess, of the hopeful, look on the bright side variety. But it’s hard to imagine that Chuck Hernandez would want to fix Verlander – 35 wins in 2 seasons! – for no good reason, or that Verlander, a bright and confident young pitcher if there ever was one, would go along with it if he wasn’t fully on board with the program.

    I like the Tiger Woods example. Let’s hope that’s exactly what it is, including the result.

    by Sean C. in Illinois on May 14, 2008 at 3:50 pm

  21. Sean: I ran those numbers on Verlander through baseball-reference and it shows he’s getting lit up to a tune of .359/.490/.641 on pitches 76-100. By means of comparison, last year hitters put up a .257/.319/.374 line against him and in ’06 it was .300/.342/.507. I’m not sure if that really means anything, though, because hitters are performing much better against him in pitches 25-75 as well. For whatever reason, he’s absolutely dominating in his first 25 pitches of the game in ’08 (.143/.234/.238). I guess he’s like the anti-Jeremy Bonderman this year.

    by Chris in Dallas on May 14, 2008 at 4:56 pm

  22. I heard Verlander in an interview earlier this year say he wanted to become more of a pitcher and less of a thrower. So this just might be the transition phase which hopefully will work out for many years.

    by jim-mt on May 14, 2008 at 6:14 pm

  23. On Fangraphs, check out his LOB% RHB split. Literally off the charts, to the bad. All of his other peripherals seem to be in line with a bad season, not this abomination he’s having. I apologize if I’m (probably… nay almost definitely) oversimplifying, but does this indicate he’s having trouble with righties while pitching out of the stretch? His BA against and WHIP against RHB overall are actually pretty good. His line against with empty bases is .198/.288/.297, compared to .358/.439/.593 (everyone is Albert Pujols!) with men on. I’m not sure where to get double splits for men on/against RHB, but I’d be interested to see them. At first blush, this seems to be just as big a, if not a bigger, deal than the velocity or BB/K rate.

    by Ryan on May 14, 2008 at 6:36 pm

  24. Chris and Ryan:

    Very interesting indeed. I’m not as handy when it comes to sorting out statistics myself (I’m so s-l-o-w), so I’m glad when someone else does it for me.

    Ryan, re your last sentence, I think the way to look at it is that it’s all part of one deal. All the changes are related. Can I tell you how? No.

    by Sean C. in Illinois on May 14, 2008 at 9:11 pm

« | »




Recent Posts


Pages



About The Detroit Tiger Weblog

About the Site Detroit Tigers Weblog was launched in July, 2001. At the time it was the only Tigers blog and it resided as a blogspot page. There were multiple authors and it mostly consisted of links to the rare times the Tigers were mentioned in the national media. We only had a few dozen […]more →

Switch to our desktop site