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7/27/1984 (32 y, 6 m, 28 d)
2006 June Amateur Draft - Round: 1, Pick: 11, Overall: 11, Team: Arizona Diamondbacks
$210M / 7 Years (2015 - 2021)
Scherzer (finger) will throw only secondary pitches during his Saturday mound session because he still can't grip his fastball without feeling pain, Chelsea Janes of The Washington Post reports. (2/24/2017)
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(Click Year to Expand /
Year in Review:
Scherzer's first full season in the Majors was a success. He had a few ups and downs that are associated with young pitchers, but he did a good job of dominating the teams that he should have dominated (Pittsburgh, San Diego, etc.). Scherzer is a fly-ball pitcher who occasionally struggles with the long ball (1.06 HR/9). He battled his control at times in '09 but his walk rate of 3.33 was reasonable. Despite his promise, Scherzer has a violent delivery that has a lot of people projecting him as a long-term reliever (like a closer).
The Year Ahead:
Just 25 years old, Scherzer offers hope for the Tigers’ rotation for years to come – if he can stay healthy. The right-hander was surprisingly dealt to Detroit in a three-way deal that saw Curtis Granderson land in New York and Edwin Jackson in Arizona. If he can stay healthy, Scherzer should reach 200 innings in 2010, and he has a good shot at 200+ strikeouts, even with the move to the more hitter-friendly American League. Like most of the Detroit pitchers, he'll likely struggle to record the overall win total that he deserves unless the offensive improves significantly. He has a chance to be the Tigers’ No. 2 starter, depending on where Rick Porcello slots in. (Marc Hulet)
Scherzer looks like he could become at fantasy stud, but there is red flag. He has always been able to strike players out and that continued to be the case when he was traded to the Tigers for the 2010 season. His 2010 K/9 rate stands out at 8.5 and a lifetime number of 9.0 K/9. His walk rate was decent at 3.22 BB/9, in 2010 which is consistent with his career number of 3.28. The one concern with him is his declining fastball speed from 2008 to 2010 (94.2 to 93.6 to 93.1 mph). In the same time the Contact% on pitches swung at for Scherzer has gone from 72.9% to 86.9% to 78.9%. This increase in contact has led to fewer strikeouts, as his K/9 has gone from 10.61 to 9.19 to 8.46. If you pick him up, monitor his fastball speed to see if it has finally leveled out. He will receive plenty of run support, so despite his rate stats,he should be able to accumulate quite a few wins. Scherzer will be taken in all drafts based on his previous numbers and could be rated quite high by some people. There's certainly no problem with picking him up, just don't reach or overpay for him. (Jeff Zimmerman)
The Quick Opinion:
Scherzer will get quite a bit of attention in drafts, but be aware of his three-year declining strikeout rate.
While many still view Max Scherzer as a young, inexperienced starter, he turned 27 in 2011 and has over 600 innings to his name; it’s pretty likely that we know who he is at this point. Despite an ERA last year of 4.43 -- nearly a full run worse per nine innings than 2010 -- he was pretty much the same pitcher. He struck out eight per nine last year -- the lowest rate of his career -- but he compensated by dropping his walk rate. He gave up 29 home runs last year -- sixth most among qualified starters -- but this can be traced to a very high home run per fly ball rate that we should not expect to continue. He’s lost over a tick on his fastball since his debut in 2008, but his stuff is still very good, and it’s natural for pitchers to lose velocity after their early twenties. Next year Scherzer is a safe bet for about 190 innings with an ERA around 3.8 and a high rate of strikeouts. (Josh Weinstock)
The Quick Opinion:
Despite being portrayed as a volatile starter, Max Scherzer’s peripherals have been pretty consistent. We can confidently expect a performance a little better than the average of his 2010 and 2011 seasons.
It was a wild ride for Scherzer and his fantasy owners, but for those who stuck with him, his final ERA and WHIP were likely pretty close to expectations. Whether the entirety of the blame should be given to the porous Tigers defense or if Scherzer also simply made too many mistake pitches, he shouldn't have to endure such an inflated batting average on balls in play again. Scherzer's fastball velocity jumped to the level he averaged in 2008, when half of his appearances came in relief. That likely led to the spike in swinging strike and strikeout rates, but the percentage play is to assume some regression in 2013. Even if that strikeout rate does decline, he has the peripherals to post a mid- 3.00 ERA and earn even more value in fantasy leagues. (
The Quick Opinion:
After opening the season with a horrific April, Scherzer improved his ERA every month en route to a fantastic final two months. Increased fastball velocity likely factored into his strikeout rate surge, but even if his strikeout rate regresses, better luck should help him repeat a mid-to-high 3.00 ERA.
If you set aside a miserable April 2012, Max Scherzer finished that season going 15-4 with a 3.14 ERA, a 31% strikeout rate, holding opposing batters to a .232/.289/.392 slash line. Expectations were high coming into 2013, and it's likely Scherzer blew most of them away. His final line featured a 2.90 ERA (2.74 FIP), 0.97 WHIP, 29% strikeout rate, and a career low 6.7% walk rate. He went 21-3, leading the Tigers to the playoffs and securing himself the American League Cy Young along the way. Scherzer once again dominated right-handed batters, holding them to a .164/.219/.275 slash line, but the difference in 2013 was improvement versus left-handed batters. In 2012, LHB slashed .290/.366/.465 off Scherzer, but in 2013 that was cut to .218/.278/.367.
Scherzer himself credited the use of a curveball
, which debuted in 2013 and was used almost exclusively to left-handed batters. He didn't use it frequently, but the threat of the pitch appeared to pay dividends, and it suggests to me that his success might just be sustainable going forward. Scherzer might not sneak by with another .259 batting average on balls in play, but over his career that figure splits .317 to .283 from lefty to righty. In 2013, it was down to .283 versus LHB, so if he's solved the mystery against them, it stands to reason 2014 could be well below his career rate of .302. Most projection systems are suggesting something in the range of 3.30 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, and a 26% strikeout rate, which still easily puts him among the very best starting pitchers in the league. And he could easily exceed these expectations once again. (
The Quick Opinion:
Quibble about Cy Young voting all you want, if his worst ranking was third-best in the American League, you know Max Scherzer threw well in 2013. Scherzer dominated from start to finish, and was no doubt featured on many championship fantasy squads. Even if he regresses a bit in 2014, he'll still easily fit into the top ten pitchers in baseball. You'll have to pay for it on draft day, but there are few other pitchers that can carry four categories the way Scherzer can.
Cajones. Max Scherzer has them. Remember, this is a guy who turned down a reported 6/$144 million extension offer before the 2014 season. Cue the "betting on himself" opinion pieces. Scherzer put his money where his (or perhaps Scott Boras'?) mouth was and essentially duplicated his 2013 Cy Young season across the board. 2013: 214 innings. 2014: 220 innings. 2013: 29% strikeout rate, 7% walk rate. 2014? 28% and 7%. Seriously, try and find something (other than batting average on balls in play) which signified any sort of skill degradation. Okay, we can quibble that his fastball velocity is down a touch, but is anyone really worried he's about to fall off the table? The 30-year-old got paid this offseason, and now that he's in the National League, there's even just a little bit more to love about him. Putting his past arm injuries further in the rear-view mirror, Mad Max is mostly projected for around a 3.10 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, and 28% K%. That sounds like a top-10 fantasy option in my book, and some pitchers really take to the National League. (
The Quick Opinion:
Max Scherzer tossed a near-identical replication of his breakthrough 2013 in 2014. Now in the National League, there's little reason to believe the 30-year-old righty can't prove to be a top-10 SP option again in 2015.
Normally, pitchers enjoy an improvement in performance when moving from the American League to the National League. But Scherzer had been so good already, how much better could he realistically get? Not much by ERA, as it was only marginally better than his 2013 mark with the Tigers, but his strikeout rate surged above 30% to a career high, while his SIERA dropped to a career best 2.61. That strikeout rate spike was driven by an insane assortment of pitches, all of which induced swinging strikes of at least 11%! According to PITCHf/x, literally every single pitch he threw generated a swinging strike rate (SwStr%) that set a new career high. If that wasn't enough, he nearly cut his walk rate in half, thanks to a strike percentage that skyrocketed to a career high level. While it is hard to imagine a perfect repeat of these elite skills, he is a true superstar, in contention for that second spot behind Kershaw. (
The Quick Opinion:
Though you would not know it by his unfortunate win-loss record, or ERA that was only marginally a new career best, Scherzer's skills reached a new level in 2015, and that level was freakin' fantastic. He should command top three, or five at worst, starting pitcher value at your draft or auction.
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Updated: Friday, February 24, 2017 3:33 AM ET
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