Former Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander ages like fine wine.
Former Detroit Tigers starter and future Hall of Famer Justin Verlander has officially taken home his third Cy Young Award. It was announced on Wednesday that the Houston Astros ace took home the award after being voted for the honor unanimously, tallying all 30 first-place votes.
While Justin Verlander has not suited up for a game in a Detroit Tigers uniform since the 2017 season, he still holds a place near and dear to many Tigers fans' hearts. He ages like a fine wine, getting better as the seasons pile up.
I just know somewhere former Co-Expert of Detroit Jock City and current Octopus Thrower Co-Expert Bob Heyrman is smirking at that phrase. I remember a piece Bob wrote back in 2019, just two seasons after Verlander had departed from the Tigers organization.
Heyrman opened the piece referencing Verlander as fine wine and continued to detail the insane competitor that Verlander has shown he is. Even at 39 years old, going on 40, he's still finding ways to get the job done.
Even after he missed the entire 2021 season while recovering from Tommy John Surgery, it was right back to the regularly scheduled programming in 2022 for the Tigers' old ace. He made 28 starts for the World champion Astros, where he accumulated 175 innings pitched.
He pitched to a 1.75 ERA, a 0.83 WHIP and managed 185 strikeouts. Verlander posted an 18-4 win-loss record for the Astros this summer. He helped the Astros win another World Series championship, even if his postseason pitching is never as dominant as the regular season.
The Astros took care of business, and Verlander took home his second World Series ring and topped it all off by becoming the 11th MLB pitcher to take the Cy Young Award three times throughout his big league career.
It really is crazy to think about the success that Verlander found in 2022. His innings pitched may have been lower, not being the 234-inning workhorse he was in 2019 when he last took home the award. But that is to be expected coming off the 2021 season, where he was still recovering from Tommy John Surgery. At 39 years old, Verlander was deemed the best pitcher in the American League. To no one's surprise, at age 40, he might just do it again next summer.
He's one of the best pitchers in this era of the game, hands down. He truly does seem to find ways to get it done year after year. It's incredible to see Verlander continue to do what he does, and he will likely be rewarded for it.
Even at 39, heading into 2023, where he will be 40 years old, he will get his chance to keep pitching for a big league team. There's a good number of Tigers fans hoping he comes back home to Detroit, but it may not be in the cards.
Tigers fans may have their fingers crossed for a return of "Must See J-V" to the Motor City. After winning his third Cy Young Award, his price may have gone up a tinge, even for a will-be 40-year-old starting pitcher.