Jump to content

Eric Cioe

Let's talk about Justin Verlander

Recommended Posts

In honor of his 13 strikeout gem, let's talk about Justin Verlander's 2009 season so far.

He's averaging 6.1 innngs per start, basically. Throw out his horrible season opener in Toronto and it looks close to 7 innings per start. At the former rate, he's on pace for 209 innings over 33 starts. On the latter pace, he's on pace for 220. I think the latter is definitely attainable if he can avoid the 5 inning starts like he had against Texas.

He's striking out 12.34 per 9 innings pitched. In the last two seasons, he's pitched just over 200 innings. At that pace, he'd strike out almost 275 hitters over 200 innings. Over 220 innings, that's 301 strikeouts.

He's giving up only 7.69 hits per 9 innings pitched, lower than any other point in his career. Hitters are averaging .225 off of him so far this season, beating his previous low of .233 set in 2007.

He's walking right around 3 batters per 9 innings pitched, right where he was in 2007. The strikeout to walk ratio is over 4 right now, beating his previous high of 2.73 in 2007.

The fangraphs information doesn't have his most recent start, but his FIP was 2.64 before today's 13 strikeout game against the Twins. His BABIP was still high at .340, and his career average before this season is probably .299.

We've also seen a totally new pitch from Justin, the 89 mph slider. He's not throwing a ton of them, but it gives him a second, hard option to go with the two softer pitchers.

I'm beyond impressed so far. He should be 5-2 right now. But man, he looks about as dominant as they come.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some other information that explains the strikeout jump:

First pitch strike% is up to 62.2%, about 4% higher than his career level, and about 5% higher than league average.

Contact% is down to 73.8% from his 81% career average.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

He's reminding me of Fidrych. His fastball is being placed nearly perfectly.

His curveball is mostly unhittable. The hitters are off balance. He's looking amazing - and it's a complete pleasure to watch him pitch like this. He's pitching like the best righthander in baseball right now. If he can maintain he'll make Dombrowski look like a genius.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just sat down to start a thread like this, so I'm glad that you did Eric. He looks like he's set to win about 12 in a row, if the defense, bullpen and hitting are even mediocre. The strikeouts are stunning - I guess that higher pitch counts would be the downside, but it takes a lot of pressure off the defense if he takes care of half of the outs himself. I could never have imagined him being this dominant.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know about Fidrych. I think Verlander's pitching better than that right now, even. Plus, they're pretty hard to compare because Fidrych was a groundball pitcher and Verlander's striking guys out at Randy Johnson levels right now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Now does the high pitch count really matter for someone like Verlander? People threw for a hundred years, over 140+ and did fine. Now certainly not everyone's arm is built for that, but Verlander seems like the kind of pitcher who can go 120 for all his starts. The mechanics are fixed, and his release is very smooth.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Now does the high pitch count really matter for someone like Verlander? People threw for a hundred years, over 140+ and did fine. Now certainly not everyone's arm is built for that, but Verlander seems like the kind of pitcher who can go 120 for all his starts. The mechanics are fixed, and his release is very smooth.

My gut tells me the same. We'll see once he's done about 10 of these 115+ pitch starts in a row, I guess.

EDIT - I guess my full view on the efficiency issue is this: some aces are efficient, and some aces have endurance. Dan Haren is an absolute marvel to watch on the mound, be he's done at 105 most of the time. For him, that's 7 innings. Tim Lincecum isn't efficient, but he throws 110 pretty much every start. I think Verlander is in the latter category. I can only think of one pitcher who really combines both the endurance and the efficiency, and that's Halladay. Johan and CC are pretty close, too, though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

JV was 1-7 on this very day last season. His ERA was a cool 6.06. 33K's and 24BB's. His fearlessness this year is a very welcoming sight.

As Oblong states below me, nice work Eric.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
In honor of his 13 strikeout gem, let's talk about Justin Verlander's 2009 season so far.

He's averaging 6.1 innngs per start, basically. Throw out his horrible season opener in Toronto and it looks close to 7 innings per start. At the former rate, he's on pace for 209 innings over 33 starts. On the latter pace, he's on pace for 220. I think the latter is definitely attainable if he can avoid the 5 inning starts like he had against Texas.

He's striking out 12.34 per 9 innings pitched. In the last two seasons, he's pitched just over 200 innings. At that pace, he'd strike out almost 275 hitters over 200 innings. Over 220 innings, that's 301 strikeouts.

He's giving up only 7.69 hits per 9 innings pitched, lower than any other point in his career. Hitters are averaging .225 off of him so far this season, beating his previous low of .233 set in 2007.

He's walking right around 3 batters per 9 innings pitched, right where he was in 2007. The strikeout to walk ratio is over 4 right now, beating his previous high of 2.73 in 2007.

The fangraphs information doesn't have his most recent start, but his FIP was 2.64 before today's 13 strikeout game against the Twins. His BABIP was still high at .340, and his career average before this season is probably .299.

We've also seen a totally new pitch from Justin, the 89 mph slider. He's not throwing a ton of them, but it gives him a second, hard option to go with the two softer pitchers.

I'm beyond impressed so far. He should be 5-2 right now. But man, he looks about as dominant as they come.

Nice work.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The BABIP is higher for no other reason than the balls in play are so much lower. Instead of weak popups when hitters are overmatched by his Fastball, they now just ain't hitting it.

I'd like to say that number goes down and Justin improves even over his currently high performance, but it might not.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Obviously Chuck Hernandez was holding him back in some way last year, if he was holding back velocity to try to be more of a finesse pitcher. JV's just been ridiculous the last three starts and the Seattle start.

My question is what pushes a pitcher to such heights? What has pushed Greinke to achieve what he has through his first 7 starts? Does JV get inspiration from watching other pitchers?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
One word. Maturation.

I personally don't think at all that it's maturation. I think he came up a fairly mature pitcher in '06 and has certainly continued to mature. I think he just works really nicely with Rick Knapp, you could tell early in the year when he didn't have the greatest results he stuck with it in a transition period. That's tough to do but you can just tell, or at least I feel I can that he really believes in what Knapp is preaching. Obviously the results are top notch.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
One word. Maturation.

Maybe.

I think Rick Knapp was probably just told him to forget what Hernandez told you about trying to get groundballs early in counts. You can be a successful flyball pitcher with your fastball at the top of the zone. Pitch to your strengths, rather than some top-down pitching philosophy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is the JV we expected after that game against the Brewers. I'm really not all that surprised. It was always clear to me that last year was a complete aberration.

He is the ace. He could win the Cy Young for the next 6 seasons. There is no question that he can be the face of this franchise for a decade (or so) similar to what Roy Halladay has done in Toronto.

I think the new slider is just a taste of what he will be able to add to his repertoire over the next few seasons.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey Eric, I didn't get a chance to watch the game in it's entirety today. Just out of curiousity, how many slider/cutters (or whatever we're calling that pitch) did JV throw today?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Now does the high pitch count really matter for someone like Verlander? People threw for a hundred years, over 140+ and did fine. Now certainly not everyone's arm is built for that, but Verlander seems like the kind of pitcher who can go 120 for all his starts. The mechanics are fixed, and his release is very smooth.

People threw over 140+ in an era when by their own admission they only had to throw their best stuff 5% of the time, in an era when multiple guys in a lineup were usually almost automatic outs, and when pitching was king.

It was also a time when medicine was far less advanced and thus injury risk was less important since once a pitcher injured his arm his career was over anyway, so you might as well use him while you can. Obviously even in more modern times their are some guys who can throw a lot of pitches, and a lot of innings, but it's just too risky for a team to figure out who's who.

Could Verlander throw 120 pitches every start....maybe, but the difference between say 12 less pitchers per game and Verlander missing a year with an injury seems like a bad gamble to take.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hey Eric, I didn't get a chance to watch the game in it's entirety today. Just out of curiousity, how many slider/cutters (or whatever we're calling that pitch) did JV throw today?

Somewhere between 4 and 7. I'd say 6. He struck out Crede on one.

http://www.brooksbaseball.net/pfx/index.php?month=5&day=14&year=2009&game=gid_2009_05_14_detmlb_minmlb_1%2F&pitchSel=434378.xml&prevGame=gid_2009_05_14_detmlb_minmlb_1%2F&prevDate=514

He threw more changeups than he has been most of the season today.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it has more to do with JV going to Knapp and "asked" what he needs to do...it was during the KC series and Knapp told him to talk to Grienke....

To me....that was when the "change" happened, Knapp said, some pitchers you teach...and some you wait to be taught....tha'ts what JV did.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think it has more to do with JV going to Knapp and "asked" what he needs to do...it was during the KC series and Knapp told him to talk to Grienke....

To me....that was when the "change" happened, Knapp said, some pitchers you teach...and some you wait to be taught....tha'ts what JV did.

Huh?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Huh?

They talked about it on a pregame....after Grienke Pwnd them....JV asked Knapp what he needed to do. Knapp told him to first talk to Grienke because he has figured it out. Must've worked imo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I remember a thread after JV's 2006 season where we worried about Verlander's relative lack of strikeouts. He has certainly solved that problem.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
They talked about it on a pregame....after Grienke Pwnd them....JV asked Knapp what he needed to do. Knapp told him to first talk to Grienke because he has figured it out. Must've worked imo

100% true story

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...