The Detroit Tigers welcomed another Verlander into the organization today. The team selected Justin's younger brother Ben in the 14th round of the MLB Amateur Draft with the 426th overall selection.
Ben Verlander is a 21 year old right-hand hitting junior outfielder out of Justin's alma mater, Old Dominion. He started his collegiate career as a pitcher, becoming a full-time position player this season. Ben made the right decision, turning himself into a legitimate prospect with the bat.
Earning first team all-Colonial Athletic Association honors, Ben hit .367/.429/.638 with 11 home runs and 37 RBIs in 53 games. He also led Old Dominion with a team-high 46 runs, 13 stolen bases and 20 multiple hit games, winning the Ralph Guzzo Award as team MVP.
Ben has an active presence on Twitter (@Verly32) and as you might expect, was quite happy to be joining his brother's organization:
Officially drafted by the Detroit Tigers!!! WOW! So excited!!— Ben Verlander (@Verly32) June 8, 2013
As was his big brother, @JustinVerlander:
Congratulations to @verly32. Couldn't be prouder - you earned it. #tigers— Justin Verlander (@JustinVerlander) June 9, 2013
Turns out there is a downside to the Tigers drafting Justin's younger brother. Being on the same team, Justin can't follow through with his threat to plunk his younger brother in a game.
"I actually told Justin he's not going to be able to hit me now that we're on the same team," Ben said. "He said maybe he'd get me in spring training. I said at least now I can try to give him some run support rather than getting clunked in the ribs."
But Justin couldn't be happier for his brother's success, even more so considering the extremely large shadow he casts.
"He earned this all on his own. He's worked extremely hard and deserves every minute of it. I couldn't be happier for him. Proud brother."
This wasn't the first time Ben Verlander was drafted by the Tigers. He was also a 46th round selection in 2010 out of Goochland High. That selection may have been more of a courtesy pick, Ben making the correct decision to attend ODU instead of singing with the Tigers.
This time around, the Tigers drafted a solid position player prospect who has the tools to make his mark in the game. He just happens to have the same last name of a certain All-Star pitcher.