The Detroit Tigers have added another Verlander to their organization, but this one is an outfielder.
Officially drafted by the Detroit Tigers!!! WOW! So excited!!
— Ben Verlander (@Verly32) June 8, 2013
Ben Verlander decided not to try to follow in his big brothers footsteps, which has paid off immensely for the Old Dominion University product. Verlander’s batting average jumped from .250 in his sophomore season to .367 in his junior year in 2013. Ben Verlander will get the chance to write his own legacy, and is almost guaranteed to get his first career hit much sooner than his older brother.
Verlander grew up as a jack-of-all-trades. He originally was hoping to be a pitcher as well, but decided to make the full-time switch to position player at the beginning of his junior season. The move has paid dividends, as he has been able to focus on his hitting and has played solid defense for the Monarchs.
The 6-foot-4, 190-pound Virginia native also has speed in his repertoire. He’s tied for the team lead in stolen bases this season. He has 11 home runs, and has struck out only 33 times in 196 at-bats this year. Verlander was selected in the 14th round with the 426th overall pick.
Some might question if the Tigers’ only drafted Ben because of his brother’s success, but there’s no doubting he has the baseball prowess to be effective. It appears that the pressure of being the younger brother was having a huge effect on Ben, as he struggled to a 8.83 ERA while pitching last season. He will be able to write his own legacy as an outfielder rather than have to worry about trying to one-up his older brother.
Ben Verlander’s impressive strides in just one season show that he’s capable of having an impact at a higher level. He may decide to spend one more season as a full-time position player, which would likely raise his draft stock much higher if he continues to improve at the rate he is currently.