OT: I miss JV

Submitted by MGoCali on May 17th, 2018 at 12:10 AM

Ten starts into the season: 4-2, 1.06 ERA, 83 SO in 67 2/3 innings. His two loses were the last two starts in which he gave up a total of two earned runs and six hits. 

He just got out of a one out two on jam on a 97 mph fastball on the corner to get Trout to check-swing groundout in the bottom of the 8th to preserve the shutout. Nobody is up in the bullpen, so he is coming out to finish the game in a few minutes. He is at 99 pitches. 

He'll likely get to 200 wins this year. Here's to hoping he gets a victory lap contract back with the Tigers in a couple years and wins a world series with us and our bunch of youngsters.

Update: 5-2 1.05 ERA, 84 SO in 68 2/3 innings after a complete game-five hit-shutout against the Angels.


Blue in Paradise

May 17th, 2018 at 12:16 AM ^

Deadline last year. I get the whole contract issue but any of the Yankees, Red Sox or Dodgers would have won the WS last year had they gotten JV. First time I can remember that one of those teams weren’t willing to spend to put their team over the top.

Contract looking pretty damn reasonable right now.


May 17th, 2018 at 12:17 AM ^

God, I love your optimism. I miss that fantastic pitcher. The Tigers won't be good in time for that but I love that he keeps figuring out how to be a good pitcher.


May 17th, 2018 at 12:24 AM ^

Struck out Shohei Otani on three pitches for the 2500th of his career (33rd to get to that number), popped out Justin Upton on one pitch, gave up a single to Pujols, walked Andrelton Simmons on five pitches, and I had thought I jinxed him. 

Challenged Zack Cozart with a 97 mph fastball down the middle and got a weak pop-out in the infield to end it on his 118th pitch. 

Great game for JV. I miss him wearing the old English D. 


Gulo Gulo Luscus

May 17th, 2018 at 2:37 AM ^

What is the precedent for this kind of comeback? At age 31 his velocity was gone and he was giving up the most runs in the AL. At 35 he is back near triple digits and a potential Cy Young candidate. JV is known for being staunchly against PEDs, advocating for stiffer penalties and more frequent testing. Skeptics from the Cano thread (looking at you stephenrjking), you think the pitcher doth protest too much?


May 17th, 2018 at 5:25 AM ^

He was one of the top pitchers in all of baseball from 2011-2013, but he pitched way too much after deep runs in the post season each year.

He had surgery on his core and was pretty slow to start 2014. It took most of the year to get back to strength. That was evident from his losses in velocity and strike out rate, but he was able to remaster some of his off-speed stuff, which is coming in handy now that he doesn’t throw 102 in the 8th inning. Then in 2015 he sat out until May with a triceps injury, and again had a slow start, but in both of those years he finished strong.

He was deserving of the Cy Young in 2016 and then he had another great year last year. So really he lost a couple years to injury, but once he got strong again he is back to where he was. I don’t think his 1.05 ERA is going to hold, but it must be a bit rejuvenating to be on a World Series team again.

I hate that PEDs have to be a default here, but I think his trajectory is well explained without them. He worked hard to pitch without the high 90s cheese in 2014 and 2015. He started a recent trend of working above the strike zone with fastballs. He also has much better command of his off speed stuff.

In the end, his success is tied to his velocity, and sure, it’s possible that it’s come back up because of PEDs, but I think it’s also possible he has just worked hard and time has passed since a couple of tough injuries and some overwork.

To address your question though, check out Randy Johnson’s stats. He was good through his 30s and into his early 40s (never really had down years to draw a comparison). Schilling missed quite a few starts in 1999 and 2000 before coming back strong for his mid 30s. David Cone missed most of 1996 and came back for a strong 3 years in his mid thirties. Yet, there are others who didn’t (Pedro Martinez, Johan Santana, Roy Haladay) and there are some who used PEDs to keep it going (Pettite, Clemens). Maybe for JV it’s just that he married Kate. Who knows?


May 17th, 2018 at 7:27 AM ^

I think his era is going to hold pretty low. He's with a team with a good defense and offense. If he goes 5 and has given up 2 runs he can call it a day instead of having to go 6 or 7 and give up 4.

It's a lot different pitching feeling like your defense is great and with being able to attack hitters because you're ahead than it is with the tigers when you think you have to make perfect pitches because castellanso couldn't field a ground ball or he was going to get any runs


May 17th, 2018 at 9:23 AM ^

This really does help to underline the reasons he had so many issues for several years. He should have never been back when he was from that abdominal surgery just due to the pure force that is required with pitching. He in essence was playing injured, and as Miggy so non-elegantly put, nobody appreciates when you play injured. 

But we could argue that year did help him in this resurgance as he learned how to master his secondary pitches and pitch with decreased velocity. 


May 17th, 2018 at 10:16 AM ^

Well, as a Tigers fan, this might irk me a little bit, but I would still have all the memories of Verlander as a Detroit Tiger, so I think you can only be so upset. Actually, didn't Reggie Jackson go into the HOF as a New York Yankee? I wonder how Oakland fans feel about that sometimes. There are other examples of this, of course, but I don't think it ever robs anyone of their basbeall memories and you would hope it doesn't diminish their standing in the eyes of fans. 


May 17th, 2018 at 7:13 AM ^

Hard to imagine JV on PEDs. His physique is not ripped by any means and he doesn’t have the appearance of a lot of muscle compared to other big league pitchers.

His success has always been contingent on his ability to use his changeup for outs. Good fastball and a big “show me” curve that hitters have to respect but when he had his 3rd pitch working especially when it was the changeup is when he would frustrate hitters the most. Watch his no-hitters or any playoff appearance against Oakland or NY to see what I mean. Injuries slowed him down because he had trouble keeping the ball down as much as he lost velocity. Sure he had a few years he didn’t throw 95-97mph but hitters strikeout on 91-93mph fastballs every single day across baseball so the drop in strikeout rate is NOT strictly a function of him losing velocity. It’s a function of him leaving the ball straight and up in the zone at times when hitters knew they didn’t have to respect his curve because he wasn’t throwing it sharply for strikes and he didn’t have his changeup. Sometimes this would happen even when he was throwing 100mph (like the All-Star game when he put the AL down like 4/5-0 in the first or second) because he fell in love with his fastball and forgot to mix it up. Injuries have affected his velocity but also his ability to get the ball down in the zone and his ability to have command of his change and curve/slider. He has of course overcome those injuries with time.


May 17th, 2018 at 8:53 AM ^

PED's aren't just about being jacked. In fact the majority of the drugs are focused around recovery and health. Guys with a career arc like Verlander's have almost certainly used performance enhancing drugs. Bodies with a decade of wear don't magically get healthier and stronger after a series of injuries in your mid 30s.


May 17th, 2018 at 9:49 AM ^

People in high level sports come back from surgically repaired injuries. Plenty of Olympians and CrossFit competitors and even baseball players recover clean.

But as a former amateur pitcher who once had a roommate using (and knew plenty of other guys who did) and having met Verlander a few times my gut tells me he’s clean. Plenty of pitchers have overcome similar injuries to go on to long and effective careers without using. Sometimes it’s just genetics and luck.


May 17th, 2018 at 8:10 AM ^

And the one every forgets about. Eugenio Suarez. Not one of Dombrowski's proudest moments when he traded the young talented Suarez for a fat ass average pitcher Alfredo Simon. Suarez now is becoming a bordeline all star type for the reds.


May 17th, 2018 at 8:07 AM ^

I don't think enough Tigers fans appreciated what we had with him.  I don't want to see another 35 for the Tigers until it's on the bricks in the outfield.


May 17th, 2018 at 8:33 AM ^

Were still on the Tigers.

Look at Gerritt Cole on the Astros leading the AL in strikeouts after being very meh in Pittsburgh.

The Astros are pioneers in spin rates and other forms of pitching analytics, and I think they saw something in JV they could fix that no one else saw.


May 17th, 2018 at 12:15 PM ^

The HOF decides.  They consider input from the player, but it's ultimately the HOF's decision.  

EDIT: This was supposed to be a response to Sledgehammer's question above.


May 17th, 2018 at 1:27 PM ^

As jbrandimore said, the Astros pitching coaches, along with some of their technology and ananytics staff, has revitalized JV.  Supposedly they had some super-slow-motion recording equipment there that helped JV fix a problem in his delivery that he said made a HUGE difference. 

And the spin-rate thing is big too.  Something is going on with the Astros and spin rate.  Either their coaches are really good and they are teaching some way to increase spin rate (quite possible) or they have figured out something else that may be skirting on the edge of being legal.  Every pitcher they pick up increases their spin rate when they come to Houston.  Morton's rate went up HUGE.