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Verlander pitching in 2008.
|Detroit Tigers – No. 35|
February 20, 1983 |
|Bats: Right||Throws: Right|
|July 4, 2005 for the Detroit Tigers|
(through May 22, 2013)
|Earned run average||3.41|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Competitor for United States|
|Pan American Games|
|Silver||Santo Domingo 2003||Baseball at the 2003 Pan American Games|
In 2006, Verlander was named the American League (AL) Rookie of the Year. On June 12, 2007, he pitched a no-hitter—the first ever at Comerica Park—against the Milwaukee Brewers, striking out 12 batters and walking four. He pitched a second no-hitter against the Toronto Blue Jays on May 7, 2011, in Toronto, walking one and facing the minimum 27 batters. On November 15, 2011, Verlander was named the 2011 AL Cy Young Award winner by a unanimous vote, becoming the first American League pitcher since Johan Santana in 2006 to win the award in such a fashion. On November 21, 2011, Verlander was voted the AL Most Valuable Player (MVP), winning with 280 points over Jacoby Ellsbury's 242, completing a sweep of the Cy Young Award and MVP. David Waldstein of the The New York Times has called Verlander "indeed one the best pitchers of his generation".
Baseball career 
Amateur career 
His father Richard, who was president of the local Richmond, Virginia chapter of the Communications Workers of America, sent Verlander to The Richmond Baseball Academy. He clocked 84 mph (135 km/h) shortly after joining the academy. His velocity kept climbing, but plateaued at 86 mph (138 km/h) during his senior year at Goochland High School, during which he was sidetracked by strep throat. Upon his recovery, he began to build muscle, and his velocity reached 87 mph (140 km/h) during his first year at Old Dominion.
Verlander, a 6′ 5″, 200 pound (1.96 m, 91 kg) right-hander, pitched for the Old Dominion University baseball team for three years. On May 17, 2002, he struck out a then-school record 17 batters against James Madison. In 2003, he set a school single-season record by recording 139 strikeouts. In 2004, he broke his own record and established a new Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) record with 151 strikeouts. Verlander completed his career as the all-time strikeout leader in Old Dominion, the CAA and the Commonwealth of Virginia (Division I) history with 427 in 335⅔ innings. During his three years, he averaged 11.5 strikeouts per nine innings, and his career collegiate earned run average (ERA) was 2.57.
Verlander pitched for the USA national baseball team in 2003 and helped the USA to a silver medal in the Pan American Games. He was named CAA Rookie of the Year in 2002 and earned All-CAA honors in 2003 and 2004. Verlander was named the ODU Alumni Association's Male Athlete of the Year in 2004, and was the second overall pick in the 2004 Major League Baseball Draft by the Detroit Tigers.
Minor leagues 
Verlander's professional baseball career began when the Detroit Tigers selected him second overall in the 2004 MLB Draft. He signed a contract on October 25, 2004. Verlander made his profession debut in 2005. He played for two of Detroit's minor league affiliates, the Lakeland Tigers (A) and the Erie SeaWolves (AA), and also started two games for the Tigers in July. After posting a 9–2 record and a 1.67 ERA in 13 starts for Lakeland, Verlander joined the SeaWolves on June 20. However, he was brought up to the major league level shortly thereafter to make his first big league appearance. Only July 4, Verlander started against the Cleveland Indians and pitched 5⅓ innings, surrendering four runs and being credited with a loss. He also made a start against the Minnesota Twins 19 days later. Verlander lost both of his major league starts in 2005, but in seven starts with Erie, he was 2–0 and his ERA was a mere 0.28. Tightness in his right shoulder caused Verlander's season to end in early August, when he was placed on the disabled list. Verlander was recognized as a Florida State League all–star, was a starting pitcher in the Futures Game and, according to Baseball America, was Detroit's highest rated prospect.
Major leagues 
In his first full Major League season, Verlander went 17–9 with a 3.63 ERA, striking out 124 batters in 186 innings. On July 4, 2006, at McAfee Coliseum in Oakland, California, Verlander, Joel Zumaya, and Fernando Rodney each threw multiple fastballs clocked in at over 100 mph (160 km/h), becoming the first time in MLB history that three pitchers, on the same team, had done so during a game. He allowed only one stolen base in 2006 and picked off seven baserunners. In 2006, he became the first rookie pitcher in the history of the game to win 10 games before the end of June, which eventually led to him being named AL Rookie of the Year at the end of the season. During Game 1 of the 2006 World Series, Verlander was the Tigers starting pitcher against Anthony Reyes of the St. Louis Cardinals; it was the first instance in which two rookies faced off to start a World Series.
His success continued in 2007, as he accumulated 18 wins and posted a 3.66 ERA with 183 strikeouts in 201⅔ innings. On June 12, Verlander recorded a no-hitter against the Milwaukee Brewers, striking out 12 and hitting 102 mph (164 km/h) on the radar gun.
In 2008, Verlander performed poorly to start the season. He lost four consecutive games before winning his first one. He led the A.L. in losses with 17. Overall, he finished the 2008 season with an 11–17 won-loss record and a 4.84 ERA.
His 2009 season proved successful. He finished with a 19–9 record, an ERA of 3.45 and an MLB-leading 269 strikeouts, the most by a Tiger since Mickey Lolich's 308 in 1971. Verlander finished third in the AL Cy Young Award voting behind winner Zack Greinke and runner-up Félix Hernández.
On February 4, 2010, it was announced that Verlander and the Tigers had reached a deal for a five-year, $80 million contract extension. On July 3, Verlander earned his 10th win of the season. This marked the fourth time in five years he has had double digit wins before the All-Star break. On September 18, Verlander beat the Chicago White Sox, throwing a complete game to earn his 17th win of the season. With that win he became the first pitcher to win 17 games in four of his first five seasons since Dwight Gooden. He would finish 2010 with an 18–9 record and 3.37 ERA.
On April 22, Verlander recorded his 1,000th career strikeout in a 9–3 win over the White Sox, becoming the 15th Tiger to do so. On May 7, he recorded his second career no-hitter against the Toronto Blue Jays, throwing four strikeouts, walking one batter and throwing at a maximum speed of 101 mph (163 km/h) on the radar gun. He carried a perfect game into the eighth inning before allowing a walk to J. P. Arencibia, who was the only Blue Jay to reach base in the game. Arencibia was erased on a double-play, so Justin faced the minimum 27 batters for the game. Verlander became the second Tigers pitcher since Virgil Trucks, and the thirtieth pitcher in the history of baseball, to throw multiple no-hitters. On his next start, against the Kansas City Royals on May 13, Verlander took a no-hitter into the sixth inning before surrendering a triple. Altogether, he pitched 15⅔ consecutive no-hit innings, spread over three starts.
On June 14, Verlander took a no-hitter into the eighth inning. He pitched 7⅓ innings until he gave up a base hit to Cleveland's Orlando Cabrera. Verlander ended up with a complete game shutout allowing two hits. In his next start on June 19, he threw another complete game allowing a solo home run to Ty Wigginton. On June 25, he recorded a career-high 14 strikeouts against Arizona. On July 3, 2011, Verlander was selected to his fourth AL All-Star team, but he was unable to participate in the game due to the scheduling of his starts. On July 31, 2011, Verlander took a no-hitter into the eighth inning before surrendering a single to Maicer Izturis. He walked two and struck out nine. On August 11, Verlander won his 100th major league game against the Cleveland Indians. On August 27, he became the first pitcher in the major leagues to attain 20 wins in the current season. The victory also made Verlander the first Tiger since Bill Gullickson in 1991 to win 20 games, and the first major leaguer since Curt Schilling in 2002 to reach 20 wins before the end of August.
By the end of the season, Verlander had won the Triple Crown of pitching in the AL, leading the league in wins (24), strikeouts (250; tied for sixth most in Tigers history), and ERA (2.40). Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw clinched the NL Triple Crown earlier in the week, making it the first since 1924 that a season featured a Triple Crown pitcher in both leagues. Verlander also led the AL in innings pitched (251), win-loss percentage (.828; sixth-best in Tigers history), and in errors committed by a pitcher (five). Throughout the season, he never had an outing in which he threw fewer than six innings or 100 pitches. Through 2011, Verlander had the best career strikeouts-per-9-innings-pitched percentage in Tigers history (8.3), and the second-best career win–loss percentage (.652; also the fourth-best percentage of all active pitchers).
Verlander received various awards for his play in 2011. Those awards included the AL Sporting News Pitcher of the Year Award, The Sporting News Player of the Year Award, a Players Choice Award for Player the Year and Most Outstanding American League pitcher, and a USA Today American League Cy Young.
On November 21, 2011, it was announced that Verlander had also won the AL MVP Award, a rarity for a pitcher, in a much closer vote. Verlander edged out Boston's Jacoby Ellsbury, 280 points to 242 points, while collecting 13 of 28 first-place votes. He became the first pitcher to claim an AL MVP Award since Dennis Eckersley in 1992, the first starting pitcher to do so since Roger Clemens in 1986, and the third Tiger starter to do so in franchise history, joining Denny McLain and Hal Newhouser.
On May 18, Verlander took a no-hitter into the ninth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates before giving up a one-out single in a 6–0 victory. It was his first career complete game one-hitter, his 16th complete game overall, and sixth career shutout. Verlander, who struck out 12 in the game, was hitting the upper-90s and 100 mph (160 km/h) into the eighth inning. On July 1, Verlander was named to the American League team roster in the All-Star Game. Verlander was joined by teammates Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera, the former voted as a starter. At the All-Star break, Verlander had a 9–5 record and a 2.58 ERA in 18 games, and was leading the AL in innings pitched (132⅔), strikeouts (128) and complete games (five). On July 9, AL All-Star Team manager Ron Washington named Verlander the starting pitcher for the AL squad. He went one inning and gave up five runs. Verlander finished the 2012 regular season with a 17–8 record. He ranked first in the American League in innings pitched (238 1⁄3), strikeouts (239) and complete games (six), while also ranking second in ERA (2.64).
In the 2012 ALDS against the Oakland Athletics, Verlander started Game 1 and won a 3–1 decision. In the deciding fifth game of the series, he pitched a complete-game shutout allowing four hits as the Tigers won 6–0 and advanced to the 2012 ALCS. The victory marked the first time in MLB history that a pitcher recorded more than 10 strikeouts in a winner-take-all postseason shutout. Verlander's 22 strikeouts in the series set a record for an ALDS.
Verlander made his only appearance in the 2012 ALCS in Game 3 against the New York Yankees. He earned a 2–1 win, blanking the Yankees hitters on just two hits through eight innings (running his 2012 postseason scoreless streak to 24 innings) before surrendering a leadoff solo homer in the ninth to Eduardo Núñez.
He pitched Game 1 of the 2012 World Series against the San Francisco Giants and gave up five earned runs in four innings of work, including giving up two home runs to eventual series MVP Pablo Sandoval.
On November 14, 2012, it was announced that Verlander had finished second to David Price of the Tampa Bay Rays in a very close AL Cy Young Award race. Verlander collected 149 points (12 first-place votes) to Price's 153 points (13 first-place votes). Verlander won (tie with David Price) his second consecutive AL The Sporting News Pitcher of the Year Award.
On March 29, 2013, it was announced that Verlander and the Detroit Tigers reached a seven-year, $180 million deal, with a $22 million vesting option for 2020 if he finishes in the top five in Cy Young voting in 2019. This deal makes him the highest-paid pitcher in MLB history. On April 1, 2013, Verlander made his sixth-consecutive Opening Day start for the Tigers against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field in Minneapolis, and won 4–2. In a May 11 game against the Cleveland Indians, Justin recorded his 1,500th career strikeout.
Pitching style 
Verlander throws four above average pitches: a hard four-seam fastball averaging about 95 mph, a slider in the low-to-mid 80s, a curveball at 78–81, and a circle changeup at 85–88 mph. Verlander tends to throw his slider only to right-handed hitters and his changeup only to left-handed hitters. He frequently uses his curveball with 2 strikes.
Verlander is known for his unusual ability to "add" and "subtract" from his fastball velocity at any point in the game, giving him the ability to throw up to 102 mph even in the late innings of games. This is despite the fact that he has thrown the most pitches in the major leagues since the beginning of the 2008 season. Verlander's average fastball velocity with no strikes is 94.7 mph, while with 2 strikes it is 97.0. His power pitching frequently leads to high strikeout totals. In 2009, 2011 and 2012, he led the majors in strikeouts.
Awards and accolades 
- 2006 American League Rookie of the Year
- 2006 Tigers Rookie of the Year award from the Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association.
- American League Rookie of the Month (May 2006)
- American League Player of the Week (May 22–28, 2006)
- American League Player of the Week (June 11–17, 2007)
- 7th in 2006 American League Cy Young Award voting (the highest of any rookie pitcher)
- 5th in 2007 American League Cy Young Award voting
- 15th in 2006 American League MVP voting (the highest of any rookie and second highest of any pitcher – Johan Santana was 7th)
- Named to 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012 American League All-Star Teams
- Became first Tigers pitcher since Denny McLain in 1968 (31–6, .838) to lead the American League in winning percentage and qualify for an ERA title (18–6, .750) in 2007
- Only pitcher in baseball history to win Rookie of the Year, start in a World Series game, toss a no-hitter, and be an All-Star in his first two full seasons.
- American League Pitcher of the Month (May 2009)
- Became the first Major League starter in 24 years to load the bases with nobody out in the ninth inning or later and get out of it without allowing a run when he pulled off the feat July 24, 2009. Then-Mariners hurler Mike Moore was the last to do it, on September 16, 1985.
- 2009 Tiger of the Year.
- 3rd in 2009 American League Cy Young Award voting
- One of only two players to win the Rookie of the Year Award, Cy Young Award, and the MVP Award; the other is Don Newcombe
- Won AL pitching Triple Crown in 2011
- 2011 AL Cy Young Award (unanimous choice)
- 2011 AL MVP
- Major League Baseball 2K12 cover athlete
See also 
- List of Major League Baseball strikeout champions
- List of Major League Baseball wins champions
- List of Major League Baseball no-hitters
- 2013 Tigers Information Guide. 2013. pp. 211–222.
- Verlander makes history in Detroit MLB.com June 12, 2007
- Detroit Tigers' Jason Verlander tosses second career no-hitter in win over Blue Jays MLive.com May 7, 2011
- "Verlander wins AL MVP". Retrieved 2011-11-21.
- Verlander is Imposing but Not Perfect nytimes.com Oct. 15, 2012
- Verlander makes his pitch Yahoo!, August 16, 2006.
- "Rookies Verlander, Reyes get Game 1 starts". Associated Press. ESPN.com. October 21, 2006. Retrieved April 9, 2013.
- Major League Leader board 2009: Pitchers FanGraph.com
- Beck, Jason (February 4, 2010). "Tigers announce Verlander deal". MLB.com. Retrieved February 4, 2010.
- Sizemore's shot backs Verlander in Chicago MLB.com September 18, 2010
- Verlander notches 1,000th K in Tigers' win MLB.com April 22, 2011
- Tigers' Justin Verlander takes no-hitter into sixth inning of 3–1 victory over Royals MLive.com May 13, 2011
- Hang 10: Dominant Verlander drives Detroit – Ace fans career-high 14 D-backs, pulls Tigers into first-place tie MLB.com June 26, 2011
- "wire reports, August 27, 2011". Cbssports.com. August 27, 2011. Retrieved September 28, 2011.
- "Detroit Tigers Top 10 Pitching Leaders". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved October 15, 2011.
- "Justin Verlander Statistics and History". stickskills.com. Retrieved November 3, 2011.
- "Detroit Tigers Top 10 Pitching Leaders". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved October 7, 2011.
- "Verlander named the 2012 cover athlete". Retrieved October 7, 2011.
- "Justin Verlander Wins AL Cy Young". MLBTradeRumors. November 15, 2011. Retrieved November 15, 2011.
- Snyder, Matt. "Justin Verlander wins AL MVP." cbssports.com. November 21, 2011.
- "Verlander nearly throws 3rd no-hitter for Tigers". SI.com. Associated Press. May 18, 2012. Retrieved May 18, 2012.
- Sanchez, Jesse (July 1, 2012). "Rosters unveiled for 83rd All-Star Game". Mlb.com (Major League Baseball Advanced Media). Retrieved July 2, 2012.
- Meisel, Zach (10 July 2012). "Verlander, Cain to be All-Star Game starters". MLB.com.
- AL Strikeout Leaders at cbssports.com
- Kepner, Tyler (13 October 2012). "A Stamp on a Set of Division Series to Write Home About". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 October 2012.
- Tigers-A's ALDS Game 5 Summary at www.cbssports.com
- Perry, Dayn. "David Price wins 2012 American League Cy Young Award." cbssports.com on November 14, 2012. 
- "Justin Verlander of Detroit Tigers agrees to deal which could be worth $202 million, sources - ESPN". Espn.go.com. 2013-03-29. Retrieved 2013-03-30.
- Tigers hold off Twins for Opening Day victory MLB.com, April 1, 2013
- Verlander struggles, Indians hold off Tigers' late rally cbssports.com on May 11, 2013.
- "Brooks Baseball · Home of the PitchFX Tool - Player Card: Justin Verlander". Brooks Baseball. Retrieved 6 August 2012.
- Lemire, Joe (May 2, 2012). "Detroit Tigers' Justin Verlander defies conventional wisdom - Joe Lemire - SI.com". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 6 August 2012.
- "Justin Verlander Statistics and History - Baseball-Reference.com". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 6 August 2012.
- Porcello ready for rush of national stage MLB.com July 25, 2009
- Verlander unanimous Tiger of the Year – Ace first Detroit pitcher to win award since Sparks in 2001 MLB.com November 12, 2009
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