As such, the Houston Astros‘ starting rotation has been without its ace for some time.
But Verlander is back with the Astros on a one-year deal worth $25 million, and the deal also includes a vested option for 2023.
Verlander is determined to come back stronger and return to his old form.
And early on, it’s looking like Verlander is slowly but surely getting back to where he once was.
Astros beat writer Brian McTaggart tweeted that Verlander was topping out at 94-95 mph in today’s outing, retiring the first six batters he faced.
6 up, 6 down for Verlander with 5 strikeouts. He's 94, 95 mph with his fastball.
— Brian McTaggart (@brianmctaggart) March 29, 2022
Verlander Sharp Again
This is good news for the Astros, who are looking to rebound after falling short in the World Series against the Atlanta Braves in 2021.
A healthy Verlander is a major plus, especially after the loss of Zack Greinke and the injury to Lance McCullers Jr.
If Verlander is right, he’ll slot in next to Luis Garcia, Framber Valdez, and McCullers, when he returns from his injury, forming a nasty top four in Houston’s rotation as they look to take another shot at a World Series title.
Verlander’s last full season was 2019, a year in which he went 21-6 with a 2.58 ERA, which earned him the AL Cy Young Award.
Injuries then derailed him, as he got hurt one start into the pandemic shortened 2020 season and hasn’t pitched in a big-league game since.
But it appears that he is slowly regaining his form and increasing his velocity back up to where it once was.
When he’s on, his fastball is one of the deadliest the game has ever seen, and if he’s healthy, he should have no trouble bringing it back to life.