Setting expectations for Justin Verlander in 2023

World Series - Houston Astros v Philadelphia Phillies - Game Five
World Series - Houston Astros v Philadelphia Phillies - Game Five / Elsa/GettyImages

The new big dog in Citi Field is the reigning American League Cy Young winner, Justin Verlander. Signed by the New York Mets to fill the hole left by Jacob deGrom, fans should be excited about the club adding him to the mix for the 2023 season as they go after a championship.

Verlander is on two-year deal with a vesting option for a third in 2025. He turns 40 early next year, but that doesn’t seem to be an issue for him. He just won 18 games and did it with a league-best 1.75 ERA. This bulldog has a lot left to offer.

What can Mets fans expect from JV in year one with the team?

Setting our expectations for Mets pitcher Justin Verlander

Are Verlander’s days of going 200+ innings over? He logged 223 in 2019 before tossing just 6 more in 2020 and 2021 combined. Last season’s 175 innings across 28 starts is a high-mark for an average of what the Mets can expect out of him. It comes out to an average of almost 6.1 innings per start. It’s pretty remarkable given how much time he missed prior to 2022 and the early hook many starters have.

In 2023, we can probably lower Verlander’s average per start down to an even 6. He’s not invincible.

The 1.75 ERA from last year is unsustainable and far better than what Verlander had even in his 2011 MVP campaign. A far more reasonable number is around 2.50. Verlander’s 102 starts with the Houston Astros resulted in a 61-19 record and 2.26 ERA so we may have left a lot of room to be impressed when he looks even better at the end of the season.

The transition from the American League to the National League won’t make much of a difference because of the universal DH. Citi Field might help him slightly. How much more assistance could he really need?

Let’s mark Verlander down for another 28 starts, 166 innings, and a 15-5 record with a complimentary 2.40 ERA. Something tells me he’ll be even better.

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