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Detroit Tigers Have Best No. 2 Pick In MLB Draft History

Can you guess which Detroit Tigers player made this list?

In a recent Bleacher Report article, Kerry Miller delved into the history of MLB drafts to identify the best players selected with each first-round pick from 1 to 30. Among the illustrious names, one Detroit Tigers legend stood out as the best No. 2 overall pick in MLB draft history: Justin Verlander.

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The Unmatched Legacy of Justin Verlander

Drafted by the Detroit Tigers in 2004 as the second overall pick, Justin Verlander has carved out an extraordinary career that has solidified his place among baseball’s greats. As Miller highlights, Verlander’s accolades are nothing short of spectacular. He is one of only 11 pitchers in MLB history to have won at least three Cy Young Awards, an honor bestowed upon him in 2011, 2019, and 2022.

“Verlander is one of 11 pitchers in MLB history to win at least three Cy Young awards, and he easily could have had several more,” Miller wrote. “He received at least 13 first-place votes in each of 2012, 2016, and 2018 but ended up in second place in three of the closest votes ever.”

Beyond the Cy Youngs, Verlander’s trophy cabinet includes the 2006 American League Rookie of the Year and the 2011 AL MVP. His MVP win came during a historic Triple Crown campaign, where he led the league with 24 wins, a 2.40 ERA, and 250 strikeouts. This exceptional season places him in an exclusive club alongside Don Newcombe as the only players to have won Rookie of the Year, MVP, and Cy Young Awards.

A Career of Dominance and Durability

Verlander’s impact on the Tigers and MLB is profound. Over his tenure with Detroit, he became the face of the franchise and a cornerstone of their pitching staff. His time with the Tigers was marked by multiple All-Star appearances and leading the team to numerous playoff runs, including two World Series appearances in 2006 and 2012.

Miller’s article underscores Verlander’s near-perennial excellence, noting how he narrowly missed out on additional Cy Young Awards. His sustained performance and longevity have kept him at the forefront of baseball’s elite pitchers even into his later years.

“He did win three Cy Youngs, though, as well as AL Rookie of the Year in 2006 and AL MVP in 2011 for his marvelous Triple Crown campaign (24 wins, 2.40 ERA, 250 strikeouts),” Miller added. “Only Verlander and Don Newcombe of Brooklyn Dodgers fame have won all three of those major awards.”

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Beyond Verlander: Other Notable No. 2 Picks

While Verlander takes the top spot, the history of the No. 2 pick is rich with other legendary players. Reggie Jackson, who was the second overall pick by the Kansas City A’s in 1966, stands as the first runner-up. Jackson, known as “Mr. October” for his postseason heroics, was a 14-time All-Star and the American League MVP in 1973. His regular-season prowess and 563 career home runs underscore his Hall of Fame career.

“Jackson was the only player taken in the first round of the second draft that we’ve mentioned. But Mr. October sure did have an incredible regular-season career in addition to his well-documented World Series heroics,” Miller remarked.

More recent No. 2 picks include Bobby Witt Jr., drafted by the Kansas City Royals in 2019. Witt has rapidly established himself as a superstar, becoming one of the premier young talents in the game. His early career trajectory already places him in discussions alongside established stars like Alex Bregman.

“Witt is even more of a superstar three seasons into his career than Bregman was at that same juncture,” Miller pointed out. “If Aaron Judge ever cools off, Witt is the next-best candidate for AL MVP, this after placing seventh in that vote in his ‘sophomore’ season.”

Verlander’s Enduring Influence

Justin Verlander’s selection as the best No. 2 pick in MLB draft history is a testament to his remarkable career and significant impact on the game. His journey from a highly touted prospect to a dominant force on the mound is a story of talent, perseverance, and excellence.

As he continues to pitch at a high level, Verlander’s legacy only grows stronger, cementing his place not just in Tigers history but in the annals of baseball as one of the greatest pitchers ever. For Detroit Tigers fans, Verlander’s career remains a source of immense pride and a beacon of what exceptional talent and dedication can achieve.

For those interested in diving deeper into the greatest draft picks and the rich history of MLB drafts, Kerry Miller’s full analysis provides a comprehensive look at the legends who have graced the game, starting from their first steps in the draft.

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Written by W.G. Brady

W.G. Brady is a Detroit-based journalist who has been covering the Detroit sports scene for Detroit Sports Nation for several years. He is in his early 30s and has a wealth of experience in the industry. Throughout his career, W.G. has established himself as a respected and knowledgeable journalist known for his in-depth coverage of the teams and athletes in Detroit. With a keen eye for detail and a passion for sports, W.G. has become a go-to source for fans and readers looking for the latest news and analysis on the Detroit sports scene. He has a good reputation in the sports community and is respected for his unbiased coverage of sports events. W.G. is known for his ability to uncover hidden stories and provide unique perspectives on the teams and athletes he covers. He has a good understanding of the city of Detroit and its sports culture, which he uses to inform his reporting and analysis. He continues to be a respected journalist in the Detroit sports industry.

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