Originally posted on Taking Bad Schotz  |  Last updated 9/6/12
Seattle-mariners-against

Since the start of the 2009 season, there have been only two players to post a WAR that is greater than or equal to 25.  One of these players, as I’m sure you suspected, is Albert Pujols, who was right on the line with an even 25.  The other player, coming in at 27.4 wins above replacement, is Tigers’ starter Justin Verlander.  Verlander is not only first on the list, but he leads the next closest competitor by 2.4 wins.

Verlander, who was named last year’s American League MVP, is so valuable because he is able to throw a lot of innings year in and year out without sacrificing performance.  Over the last five seasons Verlander has thrown at least 200 innings each year, and in the last three years he has averaged 238 IP while never allowing his FIP to climb above 3.00.  He has carried that success into the current season, during which he has already thrown 196.1 innings with an ERA of 2.80 and a FIP of 2.95.  Much of his success can be attributed to his ability to throw hard, even late in games, and work in the strike zone.  His fastball has averaged 94.8 mph over his career, and he has been known to reach back for triple digits whenever needed.  Add that to a repertoire that includes three other plus pitches, and you have a pitcher who is going to miss a lot of bats.  This is illustrated by his 25.3 K% this season, and an impressive 11.4 swinging strike percentage (league average is 9%).

Missing bats is certainly a major part of the battle, but there are many instances of pitchers who have nasty stuff who simply can’t throw strikes, and therefore give no reason for the hitter to offer at their pitches.  Verlander is not one of those pitchers.  His walk rate so far in 2012 is 6.4%, and it was even lower last season.  Again it comes back to his devastating fastball.  He gets away with throwing a lot of pitches in the strike zone because the majority of those pitches are mid-90’s fastballs.  Locating his off-speed pitches, especially the changeup, makes it extremely difficult for hitters to get ahead in the count.  And when Verlander starts an at-bat with strike one, his FIP drops to 1.61.

There is no clear-cut answer to the question “who is the best pitcher in baseball?” but one could make a pretty convincing argument for Justin Verlander.  His durability, impressive repertoire, and good control have allowed him to dominate American League hitters over the past few seasons.  Simply put, Justin Verlander is really good.

-Albright

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Bears first-round pick Leonard Floyd carted off practice field

Report: Bills and Tyrod Taylor continue to talk extension

Report: Title contender planning to poach Curry from Warriors

Fitzpatrick on negotiations: I wouldn’t wish it on anybody

NBA players to fund health insurance for former players

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Geno Smith 'intent' on beating out Ryan Fitzpatrick

Greg Jennings: Ryan Tannehill has had his hands tied by coaches

Josh McDaniels 'happy' with Pats but wants to be a head coach again

WATCH: Jim Harbaugh in cleats throws out first pitch at Cubs game

Why Rickie Fowler will win the PGA Championship

Warren Sapp bitten on arm by shark

Six potential landing spots for Nick Foles

Royals want to package Ian Kennedy, Wade Davis in trades

Jack Nicklaus puzzled by Tiger Woods' woes, golf absence

Brown responds to Marshall's high-stakes challenge

Seven most mind-boggling NFL contracts of 2016

Is Jackie Bradley Jr. the Red Sox’s MVP?

Did Joey Votto reject kid who asked for his batting gloves?

Rams got it right releasing Nick Foles, trusting Jared Goff

Report: Ravens WR Mike Wallace failed conditioning test

WATCH: Kobe Bryant drives Ferrari around Italian racetrack

Terrelle Pryor shouts out Ohio State after ban ends

Justin Timberlake advocates for Memphis to join Big 12

All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

We asked Team USA: What other Olympic sport would you play?

Why Gary Bettman's CTE denial is cause for concern for NHL

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

QUIZ: Name every Olympic event in which the USA has never won a gold medal

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

One Gotta Go: NBA players settle the fast food beef

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker