With All Star rosters being announced today, I was a bit surprised to see the Tigers’ Justin Verlander as one of the American League selections. While Verlander certainly isn’t having a bad season, it isn’t what we’ve come to expect from the former Cy Youngand MVP. Despite his average for JV first half, I have no doubt the rest of baseball considers him one of the best pitchers in the game, if not the best. Verlander has no doubt earned a little bit of slack putting up some of the game’s best numbers the past two or three years.
Jul 4, 2013; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Detroit Tigers pitcher starting pitcher Justin Verlander (35) throws against the Toronto Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre. Detroit beat Toronto 11-1. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
I’ve always been a believer that All Star selections shouldn’t be about past success, but should be about the current season, and the current season only. Given that, there are some guys that should’ve been put on the roster before Verlander.
Let’s start with Verlander’s teammate in Anibal Sanchez.
Sanchez, despite missing about three or four starts the past couple of weeks with a sore shoulder has pitched better than Verlander this season, and really, it’s not all that close. Sanchez’ peripheral numbers dwarf Verlander’s and the team took a noticeable step back with him on the disabled list. Sanchez’ ERA, WHIP, BAA, K rate, K/BB rate, and WAR are all better than Verlander’s.
The Texas Rangers’ Derek Holland appears to be a bit of a snub as well. Like Sanchez he is besting Verlander in a bunch of statistical categories, and is actually second to Max Scherzer in all of the American League in fWAR. While Verlander is striking out more batters per 9 innings than Holland, Holland has the better K/BB rate, BAA, WHIP, and ERA.
There is a case to be made for a couple of other starting pitchers as well in Ervin Santana and Hiroki Kuroda. Both guys don’t sport the same kind of strikeout numbers that Verlander can post, but both guys have been better at preventing runs, and keeping guys of the base paths. At the very least, they should be in the discussion, and their respective fanbases’ would have a very good argument.
In the long run, it really isn’t that important. Honestly, I could care less about who makes All Star games and who doesn’t. I wouldn’t be upset if both Verlander and Max Scherzer didn’t even throw a pitch in what still amounts to an exhibition game…and yes, I know home field advantage is on the line.
What say you, the good people in Tigers land out there? If you take off the Tigers cap and be as objective as possible, looking at just this season, should Justin Verlander be an All Star?