MVP Starter – Justin Verlander
I know, it’s an easy pick, a no-brainer. Justin Verlander has been nothing short of spectacular ever since the Astros traded for him on that late summer day of 2017. Fast forward to 2019 and Mr. Reliable is still going strong at 36 years old. Old Father Time and Verlander must have some sort of pact.
Verlander is in the top ten in the Majors in eight statistical categories and leads the American League in WHIP at 0.82 and hits per 9 IP at 5.18. He’s 6-1 on the season with a 2.51 ERA, the lowest since his 2011 season when he ended the year at 2.40.
He has accumulated 68 strikeouts so far this year, Gerrit Cole by-the-way leads the league with 86. He just recently moved up to 22nd on the all-time career strikeout list, jumping Frank Tanana. The two players above Verlander on that list is Cy Young and Mike Mussina, and he’ll most likely pass them up before the season is over.
Since Verlander has been with Houston he has an ERA of 2.36 and a record of 27-10, a win percentage of .730. His win percentage this season to date is .857, which is good for third in the Majors.
There haven’t been too many pitchers in the league as dependable as Verlander. He has topped 200 innings per year in 12 of the last 13 years and is on track to eclipse 200 again this season. The seven-time All-Star has also had 200+ strikeouts in the last four season and looks to repeat that mark in 2019.
As I stated earlier, Verlander just seems to get better with age. Just last season at 35 years old he was second in the voting for the AL Cy Young Award. Fortunately for the Astros and the fans, he and the front office agreed to a contract extension that will keep him here through the 2021 season.