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Scratched from today’s start because of back stiffness, it may be time to consider that we’ve likely already seen the best years of Justin Verlander’s career. At 32-years of age, he simply isn’t the same player. His velocity is down, ERA is up and durability is becoming a major concern. Getting off to an un-Verlander like 6.17 ERA to begin the season, he isn’t striking out batters like he used to. In fact, his strikeout per nine innings rate has declined from 10.1, at his best, to a shutter inducing 3.1 in 2015. It may be time to start worrying about what level he can continue to play at for the Detroit Tigers.

Hopefully this season is just a dreadfully unlucky aberration, the result of simple wear and tear caused by an immense work load. Unfortunately, Verlander’s statistical trends aren’t pointing in a positive direction. Each of the last five seasons has seen an increase in his ERA, hits given up per nine innings, as well as a decrease in innings pitched. Likewise, velocity doesn’t usually increase as a player ages. It’s a tough idea to accept, but a return to ace status, let alone historically dominant form, doesn’t seem reasonable.

Year ▴ Age Tm Lg W L ERA G GS CG SHO IP SO ERA+ FIP WHIP H9 HR9 BB9 SO9
2009 ★ 26 DET AL 19 9 3.45 35 35 3 1 240.0 269 131 2.80 1.175 8.2 0.8 2.4 10.1
2010 ★ 27 DET AL 18 9 3.37 33 33 4 0 224.1 219 124 2.97 1.163 7.6 0.6 2.8 8.8
2011 ★ 28 DET AL 24 5 2.40 34 34 4 2 251.0 250 172 2.99 0.920 6.2 0.9 2.0 9.0
2012 ★ 29 DET AL 17 8 2.64 33 33 6 1 238.1 239 161 2.94 1.057 7.3 0.7 2.3 9.0
2013 ★ 30 DET AL 13 12 3.46 34 34 0 0 218.1 217 120 3.28 1.315 8.7 0.8 3.1 8.9
2014 31 DET AL 15 12 4.54 32 32 0 0 206.0 159 86 3.74 1.398 9.7 0.8 2.8 6.9
2015 32 DET AL 0 1 6.17 2 2 0 0 11.2 4 66 7.65 1.371 10.0 3.1 2.3 3.1
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 6/24/2015.
Landin Murphy covers MLB for MFST, you can follow the site on Twitter @MyFntsySprtsTlk
Landin MurphyBaseballMLBRecent Posts#MLB,#Tigers,Baseball,Detroit TigersScratched from today’s start because of back stiffness, it may be time to consider that we’ve likely already seen the best years of Justin Verlander’s career. At 32-years of age, he simply isn’t the same player. His velocity is down, ERA is up and durability is becoming a major...Why go anywhere else for sports and entertainment?