Verlander has led all starting pitchers in most statistical categories the past four seasons.Since 2009, Justin Verlander ranks first in all of baseball in:
• Starts (135)
• Wins (78)
• WHIP (1.08)
• Strikeouts (977)
• WAR (26.0, highest among pitchers)
Those are just some of the reasons the Detroit Tigers rewarded Verlander with the richest contract for a pitcher. His $180 million deal is the largest for a pitcher in terms of total value -- $5 million more than what the Seattle Mariners' Felix Hernandez signed for earlier this offseason.
The $180 million deal over seven years averages out to $25.7 million per season. The only pitcher in major-league history who had a higher average annual salary was Roger Clemens, but that's only because his $28 million "average" was the result of a one-year contract he signed with the New York Yankees in 2007.
Largest Contracts by Total Value
Including the postseason, Verlander is the only pitcher since the start of 2009 who has thrown more than 1,000 innings (1,002⅓), and his 16,225 pitches are more than 1,000 more than the next closest pitcher, CC Sabathia.
Also since 2009, Verlander has hit 100 MPH on the radar gun 170 times (including 73 in the seventh inning or later). All other starting pitchers in the past four seasons have combined to throw just 109 pitches that have registered 100 MPH.
Verlander's Game Score since 2009 is 61.4, the highest in baseball. Game Score is a metric created by Bill James that measures the quality of a start. Every pitcher begins with a score of 50, and points are added for getting outs (with a bonus for strikeouts), and subtracted for baserunners and runs allowed. The typical major-league average is 49-51.
So while Verlander has the largest contract by a pitcher in major-league history, it's still not even the largest contract on his own team. When the Tigers signed Prince Fielder before last season, they gave him a deal nine-year deal worth $214 million.