Justin Verlander, Starting Pitcher, Houston Astros
Date of Birth: 2/20/1983
Birthplace: Manakin-Sabot, Virginia
College: Old Dominion University
Justin Verlander, starting pitcher for the Houston Astros, was a top player in college, finishing his collegiate career with a 2.57 ERA. He was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in 2004 as the number two draft pick. He played in the Tigers' minor league system for just the 2005 season, finishing with an impressive 1.29 ERA and an 11-2 record. That season, he also pitched in two games with the Tigers.
In 2006, his first full season in the major leagues, Verlander won the American League Rookie of the Year award. That year, he had a 3.63 ERA with a 17-9 record. The following season, he pitched his first no-hitter on June 12, 2007, against the Milwaukee Brewers.
Verlander led all major league pitchers in wins in 2009. He also led the American League in strikeouts. That season, he pitched in 35 games and he had a 3.45 ERA with a 19-9 record and a career high 269 strikeouts to 63 walks. After the 2009 season ended, Verlander signed a five-year, $80 million contract extension with the Tigers.
The 2011 season was Verlander's best one. That year, he won the AL MVP award, the AL Cy Young award, and the AL Triple Crown title for pitchers. He led major league baseball in wins and he also led the AL in ERA and strikeouts. In 2011, he pitched a career high 251.0 innings in 34 games and he had a career low ERA of 2.40 with a career high 24 wins (to 5 losses), and 250 strikeouts to 57 walks. On May 7, 2011, he pitched his second no-hitter, this time against the Toronto Blue Jays.
Verlander followed his superb 2011 season with another strong one, leading the AL in strikeouts in 2012. Prior to the 2013 season, he signed a seven-year, $180 million contract that made him, at the time, the highest paid pitcher in major league baseball history. In 2013, he pitched in 34 games and he finished the season with a 13-12 record and a 3.46 ERA.
Verlander struggled in 2014, finishing the season with a 15-12 record, 159 strikeouts to 65 walks, and a 4.54 ERA in 206.0 innings in 32 games. In the postseason, he pitched 5.0 innings in one game and he gave up 6 hits and 3 runs, including a home run.
Verlander started the 2015 season on the DL, the first time in his career that he was on the DL. On August 26th, he pitched his seventh career complete game shutout. He finished the season with a 5-8 record, 113 strikeouts to 32 walks, and a 3.38 ERA in 133.1 innings in 20 games.
Verlander had a strong 2016 season, finishing with a 3.04 ERA in 34 games. He had 16 wins to 9 losses in 227.2 innings. He led the American League in strikeouts with 254 (to 57 walks).
The Tigers traded Verlander to the Astros on August 31, 2017.
Statistics for Verlander in eleven seasons (2006-2016) in the major leagues include:
- 10 seasons with 30 or more games, with a high of 35 in 2009
- 9 seasons with over 200 innings pitched, with a high of 251.0 in 2011
- 4 seasons with 18 or more wins, with a high of 24 in 2011
- 6 seasons with over 200 strikeouts, with a high of 269 in 2009
- 2 seasons with an ERA under 3.00, with a low of 2.40 in 2011
Career pitching statistics for Verlander through 2016 include:
- 352 games played
- 2,339.0 innings pitched
- 173-106 win-loss record
- 2,197 strikeouts to 699 walks
- 3.47 ERA
Verlander's brother Ben played in the Tigers' minor league system in 2013 and 2014.