Justin Verlander is one of the greatest Tigers pitchers of all time. The former #2 overall pick pitched two no-hitters and appeared in two World Series in Detroit. He was beloved. But, at the trade deadline in 2017, the Tigers needed to move on. Despite this, they were not going to take just anyone for their star. They needed a solid return. The Tigers got three top prospects in return for JV.
The Justin Verlander Haul
First, Franklin Perez
Franklin Perez was the #3 prospect in the Astros organization. The pitcher was seen as the “Justin Verlander replacement”. When he arrived in Detroit, he became the top prospect in the system. The 6-foot-3 Venezuelan product features a 95 MPH fastball and a great curveball. As a minor-leaguer, he posted a 3.65 ERA in 59 games. Now, he is on the MLB roster. At just 23, he’s no Verlander. But he will certainly be a solid part of the Tigers rotation for years to come.
Second, Daz Cameron
Cameron has emerged as the best player for the Tigers out of the Justin Verlander deal. He is the 7th-ranked prospect in Detroit’s system. Cameron made his debut in 2020. Sadly, he batted a mere .193 in the bigs. Yet, Cameron shows tons of potential as a contact hitter. He is most appealing on the defensive end and is very athletic. To sum it up, he will be a smaller version of Austin Jackson in the outfield. He’s also one-third of the Tigers Trinity from my Tigers season preview article.
Third, Jake Rogers
In the Justin Verlander trade, the Tigers got a well-rounded return. They got someone to pitch, someone to field, and someone to catch. Obviously, the latter was Jake Rogers. He is the second-ranked catcher in Detroit behind #8 prospect Dillon Dingler. But, Rogers is on the MLB roster.
The former third-rounder is an amazing defensive catcher with great instincts and a laser arm. Like Cameron, he needs to develop a much better offensive game. Rogers only batted .125 in 128 plate appearances in 2020. He will likely backup veteran slugger Wilson Ramos in Detroit this season.
What About Justin Verlander?
Verlander was traded to the red-hot (cheating) Houston Astros. He would be instrumental in their 2017 World Series push. In the playoffs, JV compiled a 4-1 record with a 2.21 ERA. He was named the 2017 ALCS MVP and shared the playoffs MVP with Jose Altuve. In 2018, Verlander eclipsed many milestones with Houston. He got his 200th career win, reached 2,500 career strikeouts, and finished just four votes shy of his second Cy Young.
The next season, the 36-year-old Verlander had one of the best years of his career. He struck out a career-record 300 batters, won his third AL Cy Young, and won the AL MVP. Verlander is still with the Astros as they retool for the postseason once again.