No one saw this season from Justin Verlander coming. Sure, many pegged him to be a productive pitcher and the Houston Astros believed in him enough to potentially guarantee him $50 million over the next two years, but nobody saw this coming.
Coming off Tommy John surgery, Verlander has put together arguably his best season ever – and this is a guy with two Cy Young awards and a Most Valuable Player award – after only making one appearance and tossing six innings in the previous two seasons combined. It’s a truly remarkable comeback.
Justin Verlander dominating for Houston Astros this year
The 39-year-old’s 1.73 ERA this year is the best in baseball and is two-thirds of a run better than his next best mark, 2.40 in his Cy Young and MVP-winning 2011. His 15 wins lead all of baseball and, while he’s not going to match his 24 wins from 2011, there’s a good chance he reaches the 20-win mark for the third time in his career.
Relative to his peers, the righty is having his best season ever. Through 20 starts he has a 224 ERA+ (league average is 100), meaning he is more than twice as productive as the average pitcher. Twice he has led the league in this stat, 2011 and 2012, but never before has he finished the season with a mark over 179.