Where does 2022 rank among Justin Verlander’s best seasons?


Maybe we should start thinking Justin Verlandercareer in a historical context sooner rather than later.


This is not the case to suggest that the Hall of Famer be finalized in the future as a pitcher after 17 MLB seasons, but his The second championship And the third, most likely Si Young The year 2022 put Verlander in an air rare across modern baseball history. Verlander is expected to become the 11th pitcher to win three Cy Young Awards on Wednesday night. He is one of five pitchers in baseball history with five or more 250-plus strikeout seasons. Verlander mixes things up with the pace of the modern game with the workload of shooters from another era, and given the evolution of the shooting staff across the sport, it’s a question of whether we’ll ever see a pitcher with such an extensive career again.

With a third Cy Young now on the immediate horizon, it’s time to take another look at Verlander’s career in its entirety. So without further ado, let’s rank each of Verlander’s complete seasons, from the years he lived as the kid in Detroit to the grizzled veteran Houston Fans love it.

Note: 2020 and 2021 are excluded due to a season-ending injury.

Sort through the clunkers

2008: 11-17, 201 IP, 92 ERA+

The smooth start to Verlander’s career took a strange turn in 2008. He led the American League in losses and posted a career-worst 4.84 ERA, as he struggled all season as Detroit slipped back under .500. It wouldn’t take him long to recover, as Verlander turned in one of the best seasons of his career in 2009.

2014: 15-12, 206 IP, 92 ERA+

It’s amazing that Verlander turned in just two seasons with an ERA+ below the league average mark of 100. And while he batted his way through 206 innings pitched in 2014, it’s hard to ignore his ugly WHIP and ERA numbers in Verlander’s ninth major league season. Verlander’s career is strewn with MLB-bests in various categories, but he led the league in one ignominious mark in 2014. He allowed an AL-leading 104 runs for the first and only time in Verlander’s career.

2015: 5-8, 133 1/3 IP, 118 ERA+

There’s an ugly bit of history surrounding Verlander’s 2015 campaign. He was misdiagnosed with a triceps injury late in spring training, though it was later discovered he had a backfield injury that sidelined him for most of the first half. out of season. Verlander finished the year with 133 runs, his lowest total in any full season.

More “medium” efforts

2013: 13-12, 218 1/3 IP, 120 ERA+

We must be careful to consider the context here. Any average season by Verlander standards is pretty good for most pitchers across the league. However, this is a Hall of Fame we’re discussing here, so some high standards are necessary. How does this season stack up for Verlander? Surprisingly below average. Verlander finished the second-highest career rusher in 2013, and did not finish in the top 10 in AL Cy Young voting. But we shouldn’t be pressing Verlander too hard after any season with more than 200 innings and 200 strikeouts.


Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers during Game Five of the 2006 World Series on October 27, 2006 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri.

Brad Mangin/MLB via Getty Images

2006: 17-9, 186 IP, 125 ERA+

There wasn’t much acclimation period needed for Verlander in his rookie season. He won AL Rookie of the Year and finished seventh in Cy Young voting, finishing the regular season with a 3.63 ERA across 186 innings pitched. Verlander didn’t record his first World Series victory in 2006, but he was nonetheless effective in Game 5 of the fall classic as he ground out a strong Cardinals lineup in just one run over six innings.

2010: 18-9, 224 1/3 IP, 124 ERA+

The 2010 Tigers finished with a forgettable 81-81 average, and Verlander was solid, if tough, by his standards. He’s managed to suppress home runs to an impressive degree—tackling a problem for him for the past two decades—allowing just 14 home runs in 224 1/3 innings.

2007: 18-6, 201 2/3 IP, 125 ERA+

This exercise certainly demonstrates Verlander’s stretch dominance, creating a resume that few, if any, shooters in the 21st century will match. An added bonus of reading Verlander baseball reference page? Sifting through the lists of tigers in the mid-2000s! Remember Placido Polanco? Anyone else have a warm place in their heart for Brandon Angie? Anyway, let’s move on to Houston’s memories.

Justin Verlander, center, along with manager AJ Hinch, left, and general manager Jeff Luhnow during a press conference to officially introduce Verlander at Minute Maid Park on September 3, 2017 in Houston.

Justin Verlander, center, along with manager AJ Hinch, left, and general manager Jeff Luhnow during a press conference to officially introduce Verlander at Minute Maid Park on September 3, 2017 in Houston.

Bob Levy / Getty Images


Back to the form

2017: 15-8, 206 IP, 131 ERA+

Verlander limped through the first half of 2017, then started to heat up as his final days in Detroit approached. How did it fare to join the Astros? Exactly how you would expect a Hall of Famer to perform. Verlander allowed four earned runs across his first 34 innings for Houston, then posted a 2.21 ERA in six games in the playoffs. Verlander dominated the Yankees in particular in the 2017 playoffs. He struck out 21 batters in a pair of ALCS starts, allowing only one run in 16 innings.

All-Star Campaigns

2018: 16-9, 214 IP, 164 ERA+

Verlander turned in a strong first full season in Houston as he finished second in the AL Cy Young home run behind Blake Snell, and we may sell the season in which Verlander hit 290 home runs. The Astros exited the pennant race in bitter fashion, though Verlander allowed four earned runs in a Game 5 loss to the Red Sox in the ALCS.

2012: 17-9, 239 IP, 161 ERA+

Tampa Bay’s David Price narrowly beat Cy Young in 2012, though a look back at the metrics suggests there was a miscarriage of justice here. Verlander led all AL pitchers in WAR, innings pitched, strikeouts, and ERA+, adding six complete games in the process. Cy Young’s 2012 would have made the 2022 (weighted) fourth of his career, getting him into a club that currently consists of just four pitchers.

2016: 16-9, 227 IP, 140 ERA+

A frustrating 2015 has not stopped the momentum of Verlander’s career at Cooperstown. He returned to the Cy Young run, leading the American League with 254 hits, reversing an alarming trend by walking in the process. The Verlander we saw dominate Houston began to shine during his final full year with the Tigers.

2009: 19-9, 240 IP, 131 ERA+

Verlander became the first eater in the AL finishing 240 innings pitched and faced 982 MLB batters. However, he failed to catch Cy Young, as Zack Greinke completed the greatest season of his career. The two met a decade later in Houston, but ultimately fell one game short for the Commissioner’s Cup.

Justin Verlander #35 of the Houston Astros takes part in the World Series Parade on November 7, 2022 in Houston.

Justin Verlander #35 of the Houston Astros takes part in the World Series Parade on November 7, 2022 in Houston.

Carmen Mandato / Getty Images

The golden trio

2019: 21-6, 233 IP, 179 ERA+

Houston impressed in 2019 on a team that would have been considered among the greatest of all time if not for Howie Kendrick’s dimensions and Minute Maid Park. Verlander led the American League in wins, innings pitched and WHIP, making an impressive history alongside teammate Gerrit Cole. 626 strikeouts and a 2.54 ERA in 435 innings pitched, Verlander and Cole combined to become the first pair of teammates since Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson in 2002 to each tally at least 200 innings and 300 strikeouts in a single season.

2022: 18-4, 175 IP, 220 ERA+

Verlander is an expert at his craft at the age of 39, blending strength and precision unseen for the majority of the past decade. He led the AL in wins and ERA this season, and his paltry 29 walks set his career low. The greatest testament to the brilliance of Verlander’s 2022 campaign? Only three pitchers this century have thrown 150 innings and recorded an ERA+ better than Verlander’s 220 mark – Zack Greinke in 2015, Roger Clemens in 2005 and Pedro Martinez in 2000, which some consider to be the best pitching season since Bob Gibson in 1968.

The 2022 campaign also marked a moment of personal significance for Verlander. He returned to Cy Young form after missing two full seasons due to Tommy John surgery, and recorded his first career World Series game win in Game 5 against Philadelphia. Verlander is now a free agent, and could sign a lucrative deal with a new team. Regardless, his participation in 2022 will remain one of the best single-season efforts in Houston sports history.

2011: 24-5, 251 IP, 172 ERA+

You can make the case that 2022 is Verlander’s best season ever, though the sheer volume on display in just over a decade gives Verlander’s Detroit’s best year the overall nod. Verlander won both the AL MVP and Cy Young lead, leading the American League in wins, ERA, innings pitched, strikeouts and WHIP, while becoming only the fourth pitcher this century to record 250 strikeouts and 250 home runs in a season. It is a testament to Verlander’s greatness that he will turn around in a similar year to 2011 as he approaches the age of 40.

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