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Verlander: " arguably the best pitcher in franchise history"?

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I was reading the DetNews story on Verlander shutting out the Freep writer from the clubhouse (which is probably another thread worthy discussion), but in that article was this line:

Verlander pitched for Detroit for 12.5 seasons and was arguably the best pitcher in franchise history, winning the MVP and Cy Young awards in 2011, finishing runner-up for the Cy Young two other times, and third another time.

https://www.detroitnews.com/story/sports/mlb/tigers/2019/08/22/justin-verlander-responds-dispute-tigers-beat-writer-heats-up/2083984001/

Now I'm sure we've all been guilty of recency bias in the past and the Tigers have been around for a long, long time.  But it's a fair question I think... is there any previous Tiger pitcher who have the stats and accomplishments to stand up to Verlander's time in Detroit?

Now, obviously there is no WS ring from Detroit... getting it in Houston doesn't count.  But this is a team accomplishment, not a personal one.  About the only guy I can think of who in the same discussion is Hal Newhouser.

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One could make somewhat of a case for Tommy Bridges.  He was a member of four World Series teams for the Tigers ('34, '35, '40, '45) and was 4-1 in World Series games (Verlander being 0-4 in World Series games).

That being said, I think Verlander would be considered the Tigers' best pitcher in franchise history.  Just a shame he couldn't win a World Series here.

 

 

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15 minutes ago, Kari Smith said:

One could make somewhat of a case for Tommy Bridges.  

 

 

Or you could say half Newhouser who pitched in the same era with a higher war and two mvps.

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1 minute ago, TallBaby said:

Well, you have to ignore Don Kellys tenure as a pitcher, but sure.

👍

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Newhouser's MVP came when half the league was off fighting the WAR.

I'd be curious @tiger337's take.

Here's the BR WAR leaders.

1. Hal Newhouser 58.7
2. Justin Verlander 55.5
3. Tommy Bridges 51.6
4. Mickey Lolich 46.6
5. Dizzy Trout 44.3
6. Jack Morris 37.7
7. Hooks Dauss 37.2
8. George Mullin 35.4
9. Bill Donovan 35.0
10. John Hiller 31.1

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You have to remember that WAR doesn't factor in the postseason, where Verlander singlehandedly knocked the A's out twice. It also is relative to the league, which those WWII years weren't that strong.

I'm willing to say Verlander is the greatest Tigers pitcher of all time, at least until Nick Ramirez gets a few more years under his belt.

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If you just look at Verlander's time with the Tigers, you can make a case for Verlander, Newhouser and Bridges.  Newhouser had the best years, but he had a couple of them during the WWII when the league was depleted.  Bridges was like the Lou Whitaker of pitchers.  He had the most good years, but never any elite seasons.  I think I would go with Verlander.    

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Verlander is the best I've seen.  1971 Lolich might be the best season I've seen.  (Was too young Denny's 31 win season)

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"I'm not sure I like how he treats the media."  --- Jack Morris (not an actual quote, but it wouldn't surprise you now, would it?)

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I would like to make an honorable mention for McLain and Scherzer.  They didn't spend a lot of time in Detroit and didn't have the long tenure in Detroit.

 

McLain had a great 5 year stretch until he started battling injuries.  He won 2 Cy Youngs and an MVP.   

Scherzer was awesome his last 2 years in Detroit.  And over the last 7 seasons, he and Kershaw have easily been the two best pitchers in MLB.  He won only 1 Cy Young in Detroit.  

Just thought I'd mention those guys.  Neither had the longevity in Detroit to match Verlander.  Verlander's 2009-2012 stretch was pretty special. Some of the other years in Detroit were just kind of meh.

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Hard for me to compare era’s and players I never saw play.  

Having said that, he is definitely the greatest Tigers pitcher since Walt Terrell.

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11 minutes ago, gmoney said:

McLain had a great 5 year stretch until he started battling injuries.  He won 2 Cy Youngs and an MVP.   

McLain had a great 5 year stretch until he started battling everybody everywhere ..including himself.

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No love for Matt Anderson?

You use the #1 overall pick on a relief pitcher and you deserve to suck year after year.

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12 minutes ago, Tigrrfan said:

McLain had a great 5 year stretch until he started battling everybody everywhere ..including himself.

The Tigers killed his arm....Bill Freehan wrote about McClain pitching a lot after getting cortisone shots in his book "Behind the Mask".  I suspect McClain's rotator cuff was shredded by the time he sat down for the suspension

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1 hour ago, Lei Pong said:

The Tigers killed his arm....Bill Freehan wrote about McClain pitching a lot after getting cortisone shots in his book "Behind the Mask".  I suspect McClain's rotator cuff was shredded by the time he sat down for the suspension

Yup. Denny's arm was already in trouble by the '68 WS which is why it took 3 wins by Lolich to put it away.

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1 hour ago, Lei Pong said:

The Tigers killed his arm....Bill Freehan wrote about McClain pitching a lot after getting cortisone shots in his book "Behind the Mask".  I suspect McClain's rotator cuff was shredded by the time he sat down for the suspension

I was not disputing that McLain may have had arm issues .. merely pointing out that he had behavioral issues too. 

Be that as it may .. while McLain was a workhouse during his best 5-year stretch from 1965 through 1969 .. he certainly wasn't alone during those same years in workload:

CREDIT: fangraphs:

# Name Team G GS IP TBF W L K/9 BB/9 HR/9 BABIP FIP ERA WHIP WAR
 
 
Page size:
 179 items in 6 pages
1 Claude Osteen Dodgers 198 194 1390.1 5705 81 79 4.87 2.09 0.49 .281 2.86 2.91 1.20 19.5
2 Mel Stottlemyre Yankees 185 183 1378.2 5660 88 70 4.60 2.74 0.63 .257 3.34 2.91 1.20 17.1
3 Juan Marichal Giants 177 173 1430.2 5655 108 49 6.61 1.41 0.72 .252 2.59 2.30 0.99 30.4
4 Gaylord Perry Giants 201 175 1360.2 5565 79 66 6.66 2.28 0.59 .271 2.69 2.84 1.13 26.6
5 Denny McLain Tigers 191 186 1380.2 5529 108 51 6.56 2.41 1.03 .241 3.37 2.95 1.08 20.2
6 Bob Gibson Cardinals 166 164 1373.1 5486 96 53 7.73 2.48 0.57 .254 2.51 2.29 1.04 32.9
7 Jim Kaat Twins 198 182 1282.2 5344 87 62 5.89 1.93 0.80 .278 3.07 3.00 1.19 24.4
8 Jim Bunning - - - 183 180 1279.2 5237 72 62 7.21 2.09 0.68 .276 2.72 2.82 1.12 25.3
9 Sam McDowell Indians 191 175 1257.2 5200 72 62 9.65 4.07 0.49 .265 2.50 2.69 1.18 32.1
10 Bob Veale Pirates 180 172 1208.1 5105 75 60 7.95 3.91 0.42 .290 2.69 2.93 1.31 23.9
11 Earl Wilson - - - 182 179 1197.2 4932 78 58 6.51 2.83 1.01 .259 3.50 3.29 1.19 16.3
12 Mickey Lolich Tigers 190 168 1152.0 4806 79 56 8.13 3.11 0.83 .271 3.06 3.48 1.19 21.1
13 Don Drysdale Dodgers 165 163 1165.2 4769 68 60 5.88 1.85 0.69 .276 2.95 2.88 1.14 14.6
14 Dean Chance - - - 181 163 1149.1 4710 68 61 6.64 2.98 0.53 .260 2.88 2.86 1.16 22.0
15 Joe Horlen White Sox 177 168 1147.1 4678 67 63 4.51 2.33 0.62 .252 3.25 2.70 1.14 15.7
16 Fergie Jenkins - - - 189 132 1105.1 4460 69 52 7.56 2.22 0.89 .261 2.88 2.95 1.08 20.7
17 George Brunet - - - 196 161 1068.2 4426 54 72 5.72 3.37 0.83 .246 3.58 3.24 1.21 8.9
18 Jim Maloney Reds 158 153 1062.0 4411 79 43 7.59 3.71 0.57 .266 2.93 2.97 1.22 21.1
19 Luis Tiant Indians 192 144 1073.0 4390 65 60 7.85 3.23 0.95 .249 3.24 2.84 1.15 16.9
20 Dave McNally Orioles 169 159 1072.1 4366 73 36 5.98 2.64 0.80 .255 3.27 2.96 1.15 15.1
21 Catfish Hunter Athletics 171 149 1050.1 4330 55 64 6.02 2.98 1.00 .252 3.64 3.44 1.20 10.0

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THere's no doubt that McClain was...troubled....but he claims his arm was pretty much done by the end of 1968.  The Tigers abused him...but that wasn't uncommon back then. Athletes were treated like chattel..noit much thought or concern was given to the long term consequences of injecting guys with drugs...not so much to heal them but to mask the pain of their injuries.

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14 minutes ago, Lei Pong said:

THere's no doubt that McClain was...troubled....but he claims his arm was pretty much done by the end of 1968.  The Tigers abused him...but that wasn't uncommon back then. Athletes were treated like chattel..noit much thought or concern was given to the long term consequences of injecting guys with drugs...not so much to heal them but to mask the pain of their injuries.

Hard to know at this point whether if Denny had taken care of himself if it would have made any difference to the deterioration of his arm, but he certainly didn't help himself. Even in '68 everyone knew that cortisone shots were unsustainable. Would the Tigers have supported him if he had wanted a shut-down for some part of '69? IDK.

My recollections - hazy at best - is that the shots were always depicted as  being the player's choice. How true that was in practical reality - again, no idea. Sort of doubt it really.

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If you had to pick Verlander or Scherzer for their entire career who would you pick?

I think it would have to be Scherzer.

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10 hours ago, Edman85 said:

You have to remember that WAR doesn't factor in the postseason, where Verlander singlehandedly knocked the A's out twice.

Verlander was also 0-3 in the World Series with the Tigers with an ERA of 7.20.

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40 minutes ago, gmoney said:

If you had to pick Verlander or Scherzer for their entire career who would you pick?

I think it would have to be Scherzer.

This is a question I've been asking myself for the last few years.  It's close.  Really close.  Closer than anyone might think without looking up the stats.

Verlander has a higher WAR (~70 to ~58) but only because Verlander has more innings under his belt.

Verlander's top 5 rWAR seasons:

8.6

8.1

7.2

6.2

5.5* (currently in 2019, likely to go up)

Scherzer's top 5 rWAR seasons:

8.7

7.2

6.9

6.4

6.3

Combined, 35.6 to 35.5.  Verlander has 1 CY and 6 other top 5 finishes.  Scherzer has 3 CY and 3 other top 5 finishes.

Verlander has a 128 ERA+ compared to Scherzer's 133.

Verlander's FIP is 3.42 compared to Scherzer's 3.12.

Verlander's WHIP is 1.14 compared to Scherzer's 1.09.

Verlander's K% is 24.5% compared to Scherzer's 28.9%.

Verlander's K/BB ratio is 3.51 compared to Scherzer's 4.32.

Verlander has 25 CG and 8 shutouts compared to 10 and 5 for Scherzer.  Both have 2 no-hitters.

Everything but longevity and durability is in Scherzer's favor.  For now.  Verlander looks like he's going to go on a Randy Johnson 2nd wind late in his career while Scherzer is currently on the IL.  We'll see what happens in the next few years. 

 

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Also interesting, here's a list of random pitchers.

https://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=pit&lg=all&qual=0&type=8&season=2019&month=0&season1=1930&ind=0&team=0&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=1303,3137,8700,1007124,200,1004821,1943,2036&startdate=1930-01-01&enddate=2019-12-31

# Name Team W L SV G GS IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 BABIP LOB% GB% HR/FB ERA FIP xFIP WAR
 
1
 
Page size:
 8 items in 1 pages
1 Pedro Martinez - - - 219 100 3 476 409 2827.1 10.04 2.42 0.76 .279 75.9 % 38.8 % 8.9 % 2.93 2.91 3.44 84.4
2 Justin Verlander - - - 219 128 0 446 446 2937.2 9.02 2.58 0.93 .281 75.0 % 37.9 % 9.1 % 3.35 3.43 3.74 70.0
3 Roy Halladay - - - 203 105 1 416 390 2749.1 6.93 1.94 0.77 .292 73.1 % 54.1 % 10.3 % 3.38 3.39 3.23 65.4
4 Clayton Kershaw Dodgers 166 71 0 340 338 2239.1 9.73 2.28 0.66 .270 79.2 % 46.5 % 8.6 % 2.41 2.70 2.97 64.5
5 Zack Greinke - - - 200 122 1 481 440 2828.1 8.22 2.12 0.92 .293 75.2 % 43.9 % 10.2 % 3.35 3.39 3.51 59.3
6 Max Scherzer - - - 168 87 0 358 349 2252.0 10.54 2.44 0.98 .289 76.7 % 37.5 % 10.2 % 3.17 3.12 3.28 57.6
7 Sandy Koufax Dodgers 165 87 9 397 314 2324.1 9.28 3.16 0.79 .256 77.4 %     2.76 2.69   54.5
8 Lefty Gomez - - - 189 102 9 368 320 2503.0 5.28 3.94 0.50 .269 72.0 %     3.34 3.88   34.6

Verlander and Greinke might already be Hall of Famers while Scherzer and Kershaw may need a few more years.  

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