WHAT?! That might be your reaction to this prediction, and you have a right to think that. Justin Verlander has been a consistent starter, pitching 200 innings or more in five seasons in a row. What could possibly change?
His consistency of a high workload is actually my reason for predicting this. Justin Verlander hits 29 this season, the considered aging zone for pitchers. It is actually scientifically proven that fast-twitch muscle fibers start to weaken between ages 25 through 30. His arm might not be able to handle 200 innings this season.
Strange thing is, that it has happened to other talented pitchers as well:
2002-2003: two seasons of 230+ innings pitched, wins Cy Young award
2004: Halladay placed on DL twice for right shoulder problems (Age: 27)
1997-2000: four straight seasons of 200 innings pitched, 17+ wins a season
2001: placed on DL for rotator cuff injury (Age :29)
2008-2010: has two Cy Young caliber seasons, wins 50 games
2011: misses entire season, undergoes Tommy John surgery (Age: 29)
Now I don't see Justin Verlander undergoing something serious like Tommy John, but he could miss a few starts with something like tightness in his throwing shoulder.