Looking back at Justin Verlander’s dominant 14-strikeout, eight-inning performance against the Yankees on Monday evening, David Golebiewski of Baseball Analytics summarizes why the Tigers ace is worthy of so much high praise:
Pitching backwards and hitting the corners — not exactly what you’d expect from a guy with 100 MPH heat facing one of the game’s best offenses. But that’s why Verlander has emerged as one of this generation’s greatest pitchers. He can beat hitters with breaking and off-speed stuff and then Blitzkrieg them with his fastball whenever he wants. Verlander can send batters slouching back to the dugout so many different ways.
On a related note, Austin Jackson’s 2012 performance (.395 wOBA) has Captain’s Blog proprietor William Juliano reevaluating the 2009–10 offseason trade that, among other things, sent Jackson to Detroit and Curtis Granderson (.353) to the Bronx.
In a post rich in detail, Matt Swartz of Fangraphs explains why teams are right to open the financial spigot in order to field a productive first baseman.
Jeff Francoeur really should rub a little Purell into his hand before swiping a fan’s popcorn. Frenchy also might want to drastically improve his fWAR, currently dangling at -1.5.
Beyond the Boxscore’s Julian Levine thinks he knows why Matt Holliday is habitually overlooked when considering the very best position players in the game:
I have one guess as to why that’s the case: I think Holliday is unfairly docked by the reverse Coors effect. Because of the way Coors Field used to play before installation of the humidor in 2002, people tend to exaggerate the impact that it has in inflating a given player’s numbers. Now, Coors is still a hitter’s paradise — arguably, in fact, the most hitter-friendly park in baseball. But it’s definitely not what it was in the pre-humidor era.
Levine notes too that Holliday has no platoon split (career .399 wOBA versus right-handed pitchers, .394 versus southpaws) and ranks second in cumulative fWAR over the past five seasons.