The hot start of Justin Verlander, after a rough 2008 season, shows that he's on a career path similar to that of the recently retired Kevin Brown. Like Brown, Verlander was a top 5 overall draft pick out of college, and both reached the majors quickly. Both pitchers were terrific in their first two full seasons, then struggled in their third. Brown, an eventual 211-game winner, totaled 24 wins and had a combined 3.47 ERA in his first two full years in Texas before blowing up with a 4.40 ERA in 1991. Verlander (below) led the AL in losses last year (17) and saw his ERA climb from 3.64 in his first two years to 4.84. His bounceback this season mirrors the one by Brown, who would win 21 games in his fourth season and lead the AL in innings pitched.
This is an article from the June 1, 2009 issue