Verlander's disturbing trends

Declining strikeout rate and velocity suggest a No. 3 starter

Updated: June 10, 2014, 12:42 PM ET
By Dan Szymborski | ESPN Insider

Justin Verlander Mark Cunningham/Getty ImagesJustin Verlander's walk rate has climbed from 5.9 percent of batters in 2011 to 9.3 percent in 2014.

Baseball has changed a great deal in 140 years, but one thing that has always remained true is that every team, no matter the philosophy, salivates at the prospect of having a durable ace at the top of the rotation. Another thing that has always been true is that the lifespan of an ace can be maddeningly short, with a sheer drop down to mortality always beckoning -- and sometimes, as in the case of Josh Johnson or Tim Lincecum, that cliff is even steeper.

Add another name to the list: Detroit Tiger and now former ace Justin Verlander.