The 100 Greatest in 100 Days: #23 Justin Verlander

Taking the mound at #23 is Tigers and Astros ace Justin Verlander. JV’s march to historic career numbers took an unexpected detour in 2020 as the COVID shortened season and Tommy John surgery robbed him of 68 starts over two seasons. Despite the setback, Verlander’s career remains one of the most unique in baseball history. During his Cy Young-winning season of 2019, he became the only pitcher in Major League Baseball history with a season of 220 innings and 300 strikeouts with less than a .81 WHIP. He has three seasons with 210 innings, 250 strikeouts, less than a 2.6 era, less than a .92 WHIP, and fewer than 10 losses; only one other pitcher even has two. He’s the only pitcher in history with back-to-back seasons of 210 innings, 290 strikeouts, and a WHIP less than .91. Only Randy Johnson has more seasons with 200 innings, 250 strikeouts, and fewer than 10 losses, and only Roger Clemens has more seasons with at least 30 starts and no more than 10 losses. His three no-hitters trail only Nolan Ryan and Sandy Koufax on the all-time list. JV won the 2011 AL MVP award and the Cy Young in 2011 and 2019. He was a Cy Young runner-up three times and produced seven top-5 finishes. He led the league in strikeouts five times, WHIP and innings four times, and wins three times. Verlander’s dominance carried into the postseason as he joins Clayton Kershaw as the only pitchers in postseason history with at least 180 innings and a WHIP no higher than 1.07. He’s third all-time in postseason wins and tied with Kershaw with the most strikeouts in postseason history. He led eight teams to the playoffs, made four World Series appearances, and was the final piece to Houston’s 2017 World Series championship team after coming over from Detroit in a late-season trade. He went 5-0 with a 1.06 ERA and a .647 in five regular-season starts with Houston and then won the 2017 ALCS MVP after giving up just one earned run in 16 innings against the Yankees.

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