Philliebuster wrote:How does his 4-1 record with a 3.20 ERA in Sept and Oct of last year fit into your ill-researched claim that there was no progression toward the end of last season? He also doesn't have any history of a high BB rate.
This is his 3rd full season in the majors. The man is 25 yrs of age. His K/9 historically has been above 10 in the minors, and nearly 7 in the majors.
His las 4 starts have shown improvement. I think he is starting to settle in. I've watched his starts, he's slowly increasing the speed of the fast ball. What doesn't help is that his run support (after tonight) has been less than 2 per game...can't win with that. Yeah sell, i'll buy.
Verlander's month-by-month splits last season are weird and inexplicable. September was one of his better months, and his ERA would have likely been in the 2.75-3.00 range if not for the fact that he gave up 7 homers (most of any month in the season). So I don't want to say that his 2nd half splits indicate a radical decline, esp. when his K rate remained strong (86/92.2 post-ASB compared to 97/109 pre-ASB).
That being said, he has done pretty poorly this season and I'm very troubled. His innings jump from 05 to 06 was immense, something like 60 IP. That's not a good thing to do to a young pitcher, and while he didn't seem to suffer the effects too badly in 2007, he may be paying for it in '08. Consider Verlander's average fastball velocity has gone from 95.1 (2006) to 94.8 (2007) to 93.1 (2008). Not that big a difference in his first 2 years, but the drop of almost 2 mph from 06-07 to '08 is not a good sign and may be an indicator of a dead arm, shoulder fatigue, etc.
As many people have mention, his K rate is down drastically. He was not a great strikeout pitcher in his first full season, at 6.2 K/9 IP. That jumped last year to 8.2, which is very good--an indicator that he had learned the hitters and also that he had fully harnessed his excellent changeup more often (it's arguably his best pitch, it really gets a lot of swings and misses). This season, however, it's at 5.5, and I think the main reason is that he has a tougher time setting up his offspeed stuff without consistently throwing in the upper 90's. Most Verlander scouting reports will tell you that he throws a very straight fastball, which means that he needs to throw it VERY hard to make it a pitch that isn't easy to put into play.
Consider that the closest players in terms of K rate to Verlander right now are: Guthrie, Bonser, Sonnanstine, Bannister, Litsch, Batista, Bonderman and Wang. Hardly dominant and distinguished company for the young hurler.
His FB velocity is really the key. It has improved in recent games, but not to the point where he is consistently humming the ball in there at 95 mph. He will touch 95, but generally sit around 90-93 for most of the game, particularly in the middle innings. That is just not the dominant Verlander we once knew (I remember watching his 06 debut against the Rangers and the SLOWEST pitch he threw might have been 95, he hit 99 that day). Buy with caution, and if you can sell for a starter like Chad Billingsley or John Maine I would do it right now.