At 39-years old, even the most gifted athletes tend to find themselves losing a battle with Father Time. Physically, if they're still even playing, everything is trending in the wrong direction (except Tom Brady of course.). Justin Verlander seems to be going the Benjamin Button direction though, as the AL Cy Young favorite continues to dominate every time he's on the mound. This, after starting just once over the last two seasons after Tommy John surgery.
Can he continue this pace though?
After winning a World Series, two Cy Young Awards, and being named an All-Star eight times, most pitchers in Verlander's position would hang it up. That's a heck of a resume. Verlander though has found himself somehow re-entering his prime, leading the AL in just about every category and racking up a long streak of scoreless innings.
If you're looking at the Cy Young futures market, the obviously question that sits in your head will be whether or not this will last right? The key will be to keep his command and velocity up where it is, while being able to successfully mix quality pitches into every matchup with batters.
It also bodes well for his longevity this season when looking at the quick return to form. While a lot of pitches eventually get back to where they were before Tommy John, Verlander has hit the ground not just running, but sprinting out of the gate as a dominant hurler once again.
When you add his performance to the comeback story that's unfolding, you're combining a resume with a narrative that makes him so easy to vote for. As with most of these awards at the end of a season in any sport, narratives help drive the votes as well, and Verlander has that packaged into a nice little basket that's easy to accept.
There's a reason he's the favorite, and there's a good chance he's your 2022 AL Cy Young winner when it's all said and done.
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