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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Scouting Report Justin Verlander

This 28-year old ace has thrown 200+ innings 4 years in a row, and is well on his way to doing it again this year. His career record is excellent: 93-55, with a 3.65 ERA (17 of those losses and his ERA is inflated due to his 2008 season). In 2009 and 2010 he was a combined 37-18, with a sub 3.5 ERA.

We all know Verlander is good, but just how good has he been recently? In his last 6 starts, he's 6-0, gone 8+ innings in all but 1 of those games (7 2/3), and has allowed a total of 4 runs during that span. He struck out 10+ in 3 of those games, while walking 6 hitters total. I'm not sure if there has been another as dominating stretch in recent history.  For the season he's 10-3, with a 2.38 ERA, and 0.84 WHIP. His K/9 rate is very good (8.7), and he's minimizing walks (1.9 BB/9).

How does he do it? Well he starts off with a plus-plus fastball, that averages > 95 mph (55%), then features three other plus pitches, which almost isn't fair. A 79 mph curve has been his 2nd best pitch this year, and he's increased the use to 20%; his change-up is also filthy, 86 mph. And just to make it even that much harder, he will mix in a slider (86 mph, 8% of his pitches). He throws 1st pitch strike > 61% of the time, and gets an impressive 10.7% swing and miss, 2nd best of his career. He throws 1st pitch fastball 70% of the time.

The Mets are facing the best pitcher they've seen recently and will have their hands full, but their offense is also clicking on all cylinders the past few days. I always believe good pitching beats good hitting, but I'm excited to see today's game

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