Mar 12, 2015; Lakeland, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcherJustin Verlander
(35) pitches during the first inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Joker Marchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
SP Justin Verlander Will Finish in the Top 5 in the AL Cy Young Vote
Like Cabrera, Verlander has seen a decrease in his numbers since his MVP season, but for Verlander, that was four years ago.
In his 2011 MVP season, his average fastball was 95.0 MPH according to Fan Graphs. Since then, Verlander’s heater has dropped to 94.3 MPH in 2012, 93.3 MPH in 2013 and 92.3 MPH last season.
It would be unrealistic to expect Verlander’s velocity to return, but if the former ace comes to terms that he needs to be more of a finesse pitcher at 32 years old, Verlander has enough other pitches to carry Detroit once more.
The Tigers right-hander also had a much better offseason than he did last year. Before the 2014 season, Verlander had surgery to repair a core muscle which caused him to come into camp 15 pounds under his normal weight.
This spring, he came into camp heavier than normal, having added muscle. Verlander has also looked sharp this month as he has only allowed two hits and no runs through five innings in two starts.