There is no doubt the last-minute trade for Justin Verlander was the catalyst of the Astros World Series win.
Justin Verlander went 5-0 during the regular season with the Astros, peaking at the best time for this ball club. He carried this momentum into the postseason, leading the rotation with a 4-1 record, with a 2.47 ERA in 36.2 innings pitched.
Now, we are looking to 2018. So, what can we expect from the veteran right-hander?
Development of his Secondary Pitches
JV will need his secondary pitches as he continues in his career. Father time will decide the life of his fastball, but it cannot take away his mental ability to pitch. I see a lot of Nolan Ryan in Verlander, in both his ability and demeanor on the baseball field. Both pitchers had great fastballs, but Verlander is in a great place to develop beyond that reason. The Astros system is one that will elevate JV’s ability to get outs.
A New-found Method
The Astros pitching staff, led by pitching coach Brent Strom, are ground ball specialists. Pitchers like Dallas Keuchel, Brad Peacock, and Collin McHugh live in the bottom half of the zone. Verlander will benefit from a new perspective on pitching. He has learned to use his secondary pitches more often and will be more inclined to work those pitches lower in the zone to take advantage of the Astros defensive strengths.
A Happy Man
JV married Kate Upton just a few days after winning the World Series. With the culmination of his personal life, baseball life and outlook coming into great times, it is fair to say he is in one of the best places emotionally. This will be a positive going forward. Life is always best when things are positive and progressing. He is in a great place, and the Astros and its fans are happy to have him here and cannot wait to cheer him on once again.
All in all, Verlander is one of the greatest pitchers in baseball, and that accolade does not come without merit. He knows how to pitch and knows how to win. At the end of the day, he is a competitor, and that alone makes him a force on the field. Combine that with great ability and grit, and you have a pitcher who will continue to impress in Houston.
***Stats and Data gathered from Baseball Reference***