Justin Verlander
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Justin Verlander reaches auspicious career milestone with 200th strikeout

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How good is Justin Verlander? So good that, after expending 29 pitches through the first two innings of Sunday’s series finale, he had racked up four strikeouts against the Mariners and pushed his 2019 total to 200 strikeouts. So good that, in fact, this is the ninth time he’s done so over the course of his 15-year career.

It’s been another sterling year for the 36-year-old All-Star. Prior to his most recent start, he boasted a league-leading 14-4 record in 23 starts with an AL-best 2.73 ERA, 1.7 BB/9, 11.6 SO/9, and 3.6 fWAR across 151 2/3 innings. And Sunday’s accomplishment — one to which he tacked on another four strikeouts over four scoreless innings — follows an even more impressive performance by the Astros, as Aaron Sanchez, Will Harris, Joe Biagini, and Chris Devenski combined for a no-hitter against the Mariners on Saturday.

According to ESPN Stats & Info, Verlander’s nine 200-strikeout seasons places him among some rare and talented company. He’s just the seventh pitcher in MLB history with such a record, joining the likes of Nolan Ryan (15), Randy Johnson (13), Roger Clemens (12), Tom Seaver (10), Pedro Martínez (9), and Bob Gibson (9). Behind Verlander, the only two active pitchers approaching his record are the Nationals’ Max Scherzer and Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw, each with seven 200+ strikeout seasons under their belts.

Rockies, Trevor Story agree on two-year, $27.5 million contract

Trevor Story
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ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that the Rockies and shortstop Trevor Story have come to terms on a two-year, $27.5 million deal, buying out his two remaining years of arbitration eligibility.

Story, 27, and the Rockies did not agree on a salary before the deadline earlier this month. Story filed for $11.5 million while the team countered at $10.75 million. The average annual value of this deal — $13.75 million — puts him a little bit ahead this year and likely a little bit behind next year.

This past season in Colorado, Story hit .294/.363/.554 with 35 home runs, 85 RBI, 111 runs scored, and 23 stolen bases over 656 trips to the plate. He also continued to rank among the game’s best defensive shortstops. Per FanGraphs, Story’s 10.9 Wins Above Replacement over the last two seasons is fifth-best among shortstops (min. 1,000 PA) behind Alex Bregman, Francisco Lindor, Xander Bogaerts, and Marcus Semien.

With third baseman Nolan Arenado likely on his way out via trade, one wonders if the same fate awaits Story at some point over the next two seasons.