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I just traded Julio Teheran for Justin Verlander. That phrase is used too often and usually unrealistically "sell high on Alfredo Simon! Might feel scary after last night from the pair, but I like it. Paul Sporer Do you buy Justin Verlander 's claim that his core muscle issue was behind his disappointing season? Would that kind of issue affect his command and velocity? Otto from Cleveland It could certainly be related, and it supports some of the visual evidence from last season. He appeared to be off-line for much of last year, as if an invisible wall was pushing him to the glove side, an element which compromised his positioning at release point and therefore impacting his pitch command. A core issue would most certainly impact velo as well, given the critical role of the core muscles in generating torque. It is interesting that he improved so drastically at the end of the year, so one has to wonder if the core issue was feeling better or if that element was not solely responsible for the issue while appreciating the cascade effect of injuries, in which pitchers compensate their mechanics to play through pain. Doug Thorburn I've got 2 questions for you please: Albero Tirado - what do see as his ceiling, and what do you think he'll settle in as? Justin Verlander - how worried should we be about 5 Ks in 14 IP? I really enjoy these chats - it's one of the perks of the trade. I wish I could go in-depth on Alberto Tirado , but I haven't seen him pitch yet so I'll have to defer to our awesome prospect team. I'm also not too worried about Verlander - he has the stuff, the delivery, and the track record to feel confident going forward. Small sample caveats aside, if there are still things that he is honing then I trust his ability to make those adjustments, and he can be effective even while at something less than peak form. Without knowing the extent of the injury, how plausible does that explanation sound? Michael from IL I find it plausible. His command was the biggest problem also some velo issues during that lull so it doesn't surprise me to see him suggest it was a problem. I'm very excited for his , though. Paul Sporer Now is that due to camera angle always being over the pitchers right shoulder providing a more open angle to see the action of the curve or is there something to lefty's that throw sick curveball's like Zito in his day? Chris from Phoenix Is that true? I feel that there are plenty of righty curveballs that deserve praise, but I think that fastball velocity comes into play here. For example, Justin Verlander has an 80 curve yet it is typically overshadowed by his grade heater. For that reason, I think that secondaries often gain more attention from southpaws given the commonly underwhelming velocity. Mid 3 ERA , good K rates, a few clunkers mixed in but overall still a very good pitcher. Mauricio Rubio Verlander has a defense behind him finally. Return to historical norms in sight or start of the precipitous adding curve decline? If he's healthy this year, he bounces back quite a bit. Mike Gianella Do you think Justin Verlander 's mechanics will allow him to hold up for the majority of his contract, and do you think he will figure out how to pitch like his former self at a diminished velocity? Greyson from Richmond I think that Verlander's mechanics are more than fine, and the only wrinkle is a stiff landing leg. He did lose his delivery for a stretch last season, in which it looked almost as if an invisible wall was pushing him off his line of kinetic energy, causing him to veer to the left glove-side of his ideal delivery. He fixed the issue by September, and his velocity was vintage Verlander in September-October Any insights into how Justin Verlander regained his form in his last few regular season starts and carried that into the series with the A's. It was a treat to watch. Hot streak or actual mechanical adjustments? Jim H from Sphinx Park, CO Verlander has been tinkering with his delivery all season, and for much of the year he was struggling to repeat the balance and stride elements of his motion - which wreaked havoc on pitch command. He finally found his signature delivery near the end of the season, giving him the pitch repetition and command that make him one of the best pitchers in the game. Pitch command can be the difference between elite and simply good, and Verlander was a living testament to the phenomenon for much of the year. I have often said that Verlander is like his own power reliever, as his ability to build velocity within a game gives batters several different looks over the course of 7 or 8 innings - we saw this yesterday, with the A's swinging through fastball after fastball and unable to lock down the timing on his heat. Doug Thorburn Justin Verlander surged at the end of the year. Do you expect the version of Verlander next year, or is this a starting pitcher finally showing signs of age and wear? SenatorsGuy from Montana can I say both? Fluky seasons, or reasons to be concerned? The teams made major investments in these pitchers and the lack of performance is always a reason to be concerned. How does what you say about liking his mechanics mesh with what other scouts said about his "stiff front leg" perhaps relegating him to the bullpen? Are you just looking for different things? Seth from SF It is all about how we judge specific elements such as that stiff landing leg, as well as looking at and emphasizing different aspects. I do prefer to see more flex in the front knee from foot strike into release point, rather than a stiff front leg, but it is not nearly such a big issue as to relegate him to the bullpen. Justin Verlander has always had a very stiff landing leg, yet he seems to do just fine in the starting rotation. Doug Thorburn Paul, What is your perfect adult beverage? And perfect adult baseball player? How much of the loss is "real," and how much does it matter for those pitchers? Dan Rozenson from Washington, DC it's real and it's spectacular. Well, maybe not spectacular. The Verlander theory I like best is he was maxing out pre-contract, and now he doesn't need to go full bore to stand out as an elite arm. Thing is, he is an elite arm even without the mph stuff. His curve is nasty and he commands it and his velocity is plenty fine. CC is just a guy with a ton of innings on him, there's no way he would throw that hard forever. He's a pitcher and not a thrower, so, again, he should be just fine. Harry Pavlidis Hey, Doug. I always enjoy your work. I can see a lot of power, but it looks like a stiff landing leg. If so what are the long-term, short-term implications? CyMature from Western Mass I am not a fan of the stiff landing leg in general, as it inhibits a pitcher's ability to track closer to the plate after foot strike. Pitchers with some flex in the knee of the landing leg are able to reap benefits for distance at release point. It is not a major issue, and should not hurt his draft stock or anything, but it is something that I would personally address if my team drafted him. Of course, a stiff landing leg hasn't stopped Justin Verlander from being the best pitcher on the planet. Thrice, "Stare at the Sun" Doug Thorburn What do you think are the most interesting story lines heading into the season? Frahm from The Hills Mike Trout is always an amazing storyline. That's how nuts he was last season. Can he do it, or realistically, some large portion of it, again? I can't wait to find out. Can Justin Verlander do it again? Are the Yankees finally done? Can the Dodgers add more talent and payroll at the deadline? Can the Dodgers win or are they some bloated mess? I'm rooting for both. Will the Astros lose ? Matthew Kory Was this a good pick-up, considering that I have Matt Moore , Yu Darvish , Derek Holland and Tommy Milone as my top starters jlarsen from Chicago Hard to say considering I don't know what those picks would typically fetch in your league. That seems like a lot to give up since it's an AL-only. Your staff looks deep, but this isn't a mixed. I do like Buxton a lot, but I don't like the idea of giving up Verlander without getting a top hitter back. I have been burned in the past dealing an ace pitcher for a package of players rather than one big hitter in return. Mike Gianella Gimme a factoid Rich from San Francisco Oooh, I will try to come up with something original if I can this hour, but my favorite factoid that I came up with in the past month was this: Craig Kimbrel had more three-pitch strikeouts in than Justin Verlander. Sam Miller You mention creating hip-shoulder separation as a key element to doing it, and single out the possibility of delaying trunk rotation. Justin Verlander seems to do that really well. Are there specific pitchers you think could find an extra tick or two by just rotating earlier with their lower half, headed into a new season? His torque is incredible, with a killer combination of upper-body load, delayed trunk rotation, and mechanical repetition. There are a umber of pitchers who tend to rotate the hips very late, choosing to fire hips and shoulders together, though this technique places the kinetic responsibility lower on the chain. Some of the pitchers who use this "hip whip," and who would likely benefit from greater hip-shoulder separation include: Kershaw's strategy is more than likely tied to his hip problems, and he is the 1 pitcher that I would like to see find a more efficient method for generating torque. The problem is that he has recently found his ideal timing, after years of struggling with repetition, and making such an adjustment could set him back for a stretch while he coordinated the new mechanics. So it's hard to fault the team for not making an adjustment.
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