One of the most popular starting pitchers in every fantasy baseball draft last season was Detroit Tigers SP Justin Verlander. He has been an elite fantasy hurler for several seasons in a row and has earned his SP1 title.
Unfortunately, Verlander had a rather mediocre fantasy performance in 2013. His 3.46 ERA was the highest since 2008, while his 1.31 WHIP was also uncharacteristically high. It wasn’t a horrible season, but it certainly wasn’t the CY Young performance that most fantasy fans have become accustomed to.
Luckily, Verlander will have much less pressure on him this season. Detroit has witnessed the emergence of fellow starter, Max Scherzer, who is coming off a 2013 season in which he won the American League CY Young. Additionally, the team has Anibal Sanchez, who has matured in his own right. Needless to say, it is no longer on all Verlander to win every game and that alone will give him more peace on the mound this year.
Verlander has also been lights out this spring. In 20 innings, Verlander has a flawless 0.00 ERA and the right-hander has struck out 17 batters. He has held opposing hitters to a .127 batting average and seems primed to have another Cy Young fantasy season.
Verlander will have a bounce back fantasy season in 2104. He will continue to put up SP1 numbers and will be one of the most underrated second round picks in recent memory.