For the last several seasons, one of the premier pitchers in fantasy baseball has been Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers. Verlander has won the strikeout title in the American League the last two years. He is also a six-time All-star and even won the AL MVP in 2011.
However, Verlander has been a shell of himself this season. He has a 3.66 ERA, 13-12 record, and embarrassing 1.33 WHIP. These are not the numbers fantasy owners have come to expect from the 2011 AL Cy Young Winner.
Verlander even had six starts in which he allowed five earned runs or more. His pitches per appearance went down from 114.2 to 109.5 per outing and it was one of the worst performances of his tenured career. He was clearly struggling all season long to get his command over his fastball and it showed in ever outing.
The 30-year-old was still throwing his fastball 98 MPH towards the end of the year, despite it averaging 93.2 MPH for the season. He was also clocked at over 100 MPH at times down the stretch, so his arm still has plenty of life in it. He just needs to work on his command this off-season, and I fully expect the veteran to bounce back next season.
Verlander is still worth hanging onto for one more season, but he is no longer the top pitcher in fantasy anymore. He can still be a quality SP2 with huge upside, so don’t be afraid to keep him for one more season.