Justin Verlander

Since his rookie season in 2006, Justin Verlander has proven that he is a special pitcher. First he became one of the few rookies to start Game One of a World Series, then he tossed a no-hitter in his second full season with the Detroit Tigers. Later, in 2011, Verlander fired another no-hitter, won 24 games, and became the first starting pitcher to be named the league’s Most Valuable Player and Cy Young Award winner since 1986.

Verlander uses a fastball that reaches 100 miles per hour, a devastatingly effective curveball, and a nasty slider and changeup to overpower opposing batters. He’s been remarkably durable, pitching at least six innings in 63 consecutive starts from August 22, 2010 to July 26, 2012. Over that span, the tall right-hander won 40 games while losing only 12. His streak was stopped only because his start against the Red Sox in Boston was halted by rain after five innings. Thus, he lost the streak while pitching a complete game.

Verlander’s no-hitters came against the Milwaukee Brewers in Detroit on June 12, 2007; and in Toronto against the Blue Jays on May 7, 2011. In the latter contest he faced just 27 batters, not allowing a runner until he surrendered a walk in the 8th inning, but erasing him on a double play. In his next start, on May 13, he held the Royals hitless until two were out in the sixth inning, thus over three starts he had faced 50 consecutive batters without allowing a base hit. A month later, on June 14 against Cleveland, Verlander took a no-hitter into the eighth inning before surrendering a hit. In his MVP season he had winning streaks of 12 and nine games and led the AL in all three triple crown categories: wins, strikeouts, and ERA.

In 2012, Verlander held the Pirates hitless through 8 1/3 innings before allowing a soft single to Josh Harrison. The Tiger ace struck out 12 batters in what many felt was his most overpowering performance ever.

Through his first eight seasons, the former Old Dominion hurler had won many laurels: Rookie of the Year, MVP, Cy Young, and The Sporting News Pitcher of the Year.