The Detroit Tigers started Saturday with just one Verlander in the organization, superstar Justin Verlander. The number of Verlanders doubled on Saturday, however, as the Tigers drafted his younger brother, Ben.
ODU's Ben Verlander just drafted by the Detroit Tigers. Has a family member in the organization.— michael phillips (@michaelpRTD) June 8, 2013
Verlander was a 14th-round selection, the 426th overall pick in this year's draft. He was previously selected by the team in the 46th round in 2010.
While he may never reach the status of his older brother, Ben has made a name for himself at Old Dominion—where Justin also starred—hitting .367 with a .633 slugging percentage and 11 home runs this season.
A right fielder by trade, Verlander made the switch to being a full-time position player this season after posting an 8.83 ERA last season, according to USA Today.
As that story notes, Justin finished as both Old Dominion and Colonial Athletic Association all-time strikeout leader, with 427. In other words, following in his footsteps at ODU was a tall task.
It remains to be seen if Verlander will forgo his senior season at Old Dominion. When asked that question before the draft, he had the following comments (via Tom Robinson of The Virginian-Pilot):
"I do love playing at Old Dominion. But if the right thing comes along, it's been my dream to play in the major leagues all my life. And I'm going to do what helps me achieve my dream.
"This time around, it's for real," said Verlander, who is playing summer ball in Staunton. "I'd be drafted for being Ben Verlander and not for being Justin's brother."
Given he was drafted in the 14th round and has just one full-time season as a position player, it wouldn't be a surprise if he returned for his senior season. With another year to improve as a hitter—he's taken huge strides this year alone—he could end up being a very high pick a year from now.
Eventually, he could simply known as Ben Verlander, not "Justin's little brother."