OT: Verlander breaks bat on check-swing

Submitted by Hands Free on July 21st, 2012 at 1:02 PM




I'm sure it wasn't purely Verlander's 100mph gas, but breaking a bat on a check-swing is quite uncommon.

This was also his 116th pitch, maiking it even more amazing.  I don't know much about the art of pitching, but I've always been amazed at Verlander's durability since he is rather skinny - he must have superb mechanics.



July 21st, 2012 at 1:14 PM ^

Breaking the bat or not, I've always been impressed with him hitting 100 when he is in the late innings. But after throwing 116 pitches, he can hit the radar that hot. It's ridiculous. Some pitchers can't even hit 100, and some can't even make it to 100 pitches effectively. But he constantly does both. I'm curious how long he will be able to keep this up, definition of work horse. Looking back, once he retires, he is going to have one impressive career. And we all got to witness it from start to finish.


July 21st, 2012 at 1:18 PM ^

He's might look skinny but the guy is put together.  Look at his legs and his, erm, backside.  That and his core is where most of that power is coming from.  He is simply a freak of nature though, especially since he is still adding pitches to his repertoire as noted by his adding a slider over the past year or so.  If you can hit 101 on the gun and then follow that up with an 86 mph 12-6 curveball then that's just not fair.  I've been watching baseball a long long time and he is without a doubt the most talented pitcher I have ever seen in my life.  He's also been incredibly injury-free for a guy that throws as hard as he does. Lord, i don't think there's enoug wood in the state to knock on after that comment but it's true.


July 21st, 2012 at 1:22 PM ^

Take a look at Verlander's legs next time he's out there.  I wouldn't call him skinny.  When Leyland calls him a horse, he means it.  Dude is all muscle in his lower body.

Eat Your Wheatlies

July 21st, 2012 at 1:25 PM ^

A person does not have to be built or thick to throw hard. You nailed it with mechanics. He works toward the plate on a tremendous, downhill plane, and effectively uses his legs and core muscles to consistently drive through his target. Having a long, lanky frame also helps create a good deal of whip with his arm. Also, God blessed him with a hose.


Im sure later in his career he will have to re-develop his approach toward pitching as his arm/body wear down, which is pretty common for some of the greats. It might be adding a pitch like a splitter, or developing pin-point accuracy. Either way, I imagine he will be a force well into his late 30s if he chooses to do so.


July 21st, 2012 at 1:26 PM ^

throwin those 0-2 fastballs down the middle...it might literally be the only thing he ever does wrong. He can throw a hook for a strike and have dudes jumpin outta the way


July 21st, 2012 at 1:34 PM ^

To me, that replay was my highlight of the game. Them all standing around the plate mystified as to what just happened, guy just holding the tiniest part of the handle.. I was laughing hysterically at that play.

Roy G. Biv

July 21st, 2012 at 1:35 PM ^

It was indeed a confluence of multiple factors that lead to the broken bat, not the least of which was likely a weak spot in the wood, but damn was that a picture-perfect "sawing off." I agree with the previous post regarding Verlander's talent, with one addition: Nolan Ryan. He also had the 100+ heat and the knee-buckling hook. He and JV are head and shoulders above anyone else I can recall since the late 70s, with only Randy Johnson within shouting distance, in terms of talent. Two others who could have been in the conversation but had tragically short careers: JR Richard and Joel Zumaya (reliever caveat noted).

Roy G. Biv

July 21st, 2012 at 5:53 PM ^

The reference is to talent, nothing else. When he was right, he had 102mph heat combined with an unhittable curve. How many to ever play can claim that? If I said he was, or even could have been a great pitcher then I certainly could be accused of homerism. But his natural talent, at one time, spoke for itself.


July 21st, 2012 at 7:56 PM ^

I feel like Nolan Ryan might be a bit overrated.  Don't get me wrong--he was a great pitcher--just not as great as everyone remembers.  He had 2 dominant seasons, and a bunch of no hitters, and he pitched well for f'ing forever, but the first half of his career he had terrible control and compared to other pitchers his ERA was rarely all that good (outside of the 2 dominate years I mentioned).

If you want to grab a dominant fireballer to compare someone to, grab Randy Johnson.  Unlike Ryan, he was dominant for nearly a decade, plus he dominated during a time when offense was out of control in baseball.  I think in the grand scheme of things he was a more impressive pitcher, regardless of what history or the Hall of Fame may say. 

I hoipe JV ends up more like Randy Johnson than Nolan Ryan.

snarling wolverine

July 21st, 2012 at 1:36 PM ^

Pitching has very little to do with muscle.  Flexibility is the key.  In fact, a lot of pitching coaches discourage their guys from pumping iron.  It's probably harder to whip your arm around when you've got extra bicep muscle weighing it down.  



July 21st, 2012 at 1:57 PM ^

No sense in pretending I know what makes JV be a workhorse as neither of know but we all can agree that JV is the fuckin man. He was really good early on in his career but the past few years he has become great.


July 21st, 2012 at 2:06 PM ^

He regularly threw in the mid-to high-90s, and he was 5-11 and 160, which just supports the fact that mechanics and the particulars of an individual's arm and shoulder are more important than pure musculature.


July 21st, 2012 at 2:08 PM ^

He has nearly perfect mechanics, no odd motions which means he's able to find his arm slot and repeat it every pitch. He even fields his position very well because when he releases the ball he puts himself in position to field a ball hit back at him. He is the definition of an Ace and just sit back and marvel at some of the greatness we are watching right now with JV pitching and Miguel hitting.

snarling wolverine

July 21st, 2012 at 11:59 PM ^

Speaking of the Tigers, it's interesting to see their playoff odds in their standings according to ESPN.  I don't know how these are calculated, but there's a lot of movement from one game to the next.  Two days ago the Tigers had a 40.2% chance of making the playoffs; yesterday it was 43.6%; now it's 49.0%.  

EDIT: And after today's win, they now have a 58.0% chance.  Crazy.


July 21st, 2012 at 3:45 PM ^

The look on Gordon Beckham's face right after it happened was priceless really - pure "WTF". 

Justin Verlander has always been exciting to watch, and I love that he saves the heat for the later innings really whereas many pitchers try to start hard and gear down later. I think that's what has helped him be that workhorse in the  rotation.



July 21st, 2012 at 4:31 PM ^

Not a Tigers fan, but love watching Verlander pitch. Perfect mechanics and the repetition of a structurally sound delivery combined with decent, but not absurd muscle mass allow a great pitcher to stay great as opposed to flaming out in a couple of years. Dontrelle Willis and Tim Lincecum (at least this year) are prime example of why weird deliveries can make you great for two years and then derail a career after that.

Verlander has all the tools necessary to pitch at Cy Young level for another decade.

Hell my favorite pitcher of all time is Greg Maddux. I don't think he could hit more than 92 on the gun an never had a crazy hook, but he knew how to pitch and what spots to hit on the plate. So much of pitching is mental.


July 21st, 2012 at 4:57 PM ^

The great, unsung thing about JV is that his dominance puts pressure on the rest of the starting staff to up their game... and it is starting to take effect.  Porcello, Max, Fister etc. all know that there is a high standard to live up to when they start.  It doesnt always work out well, but lately we have seen those other 3 starters reach back and give a bit more as well...IMO Verlander holds them to a high standard, naturally.

Verlander is probably the best in baseball..but Id give Jared Weaver a very close 2nd.  He doesnt have the power that JV had but his stuff is lights out and his control is fantastic.


July 21st, 2012 at 7:27 PM ^

He has had the physical tools for years, but has just had it click mentally in the past few seasons.  He figured out that he had to save his velocity for the later innings and start off slow, focusing on his control.  Once he's warmed up, he can really bring the heat when he needs it to get out of jams.  That has turned him from a thrower into a pticher and has allowed him to become dominant.


September 18th, 2013 at 1:59 PM ^

1. While I think Verlander is an exceptional pitcher, my favorte Tiger pitcher still is Mark "The Bird" Fidrych. He didn't have great tools and was only around a few seasons but man was he fun to watch!

2. When you talk about a player breaking a bat on a checked swing the most impressive version would be when the bat does not hit the ball - a "real" checked swing. Since this is a Michigan site it should feature Detroit Tigers, not some bush league Boston Red Sox player. I was at a game in Tiger stadium ~1967 and saw Willie Horton (Detroit Tigers #23) break a bat on a checked swing when the bat never hit the ball! Rumor has it that it  was the second time he had done it. I also vaguely remember watching a televised game when that copycat Jim Rice (Boston Red Sox #14) did the same thing.