The Pod Projections are back! My projections are based on the methodology shared in my eBook Projecting X, and the process continues to evolve and improve.
After winning both the American League MVP and Cy Young awards back in 2011, Justin Verlander followed up strongly the next season, finishing second in the Cy Young voting. But in 2013, his fastball velocity slipped for a third straight year, which drove a decline in his peripherals and resulted in his highest SIERA mark since 2008. It got even worse last season, as his velocity dipped another mile per hour, his strikeout rate fell to its lowest mark since 2006, and he couldn’t strand runners at the rate he used to, while poor defense behind him added more fuel to the fire. All told, his ERA jumped above 4.00 for just the second time of his career.
At age 32 and with a seemingly clear explanation for his recent struggles in the form of the velocity loss, it’s no surprise that fantasy owners aren’t sure what to expect from Verlander this season. On average, he’s just the 46th starting pitcher off the board in NFBC leagues at pick 186, and his pick range sits between 93 and 253. That’s quite the discount for someone with his track record who may have had just one poor season. So let’s get to the projecting.
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