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September’s Surging Starters: Scherzer

By now, we all know that Max Scherzer really struggled with his control during the month of May, prompting the Tigers to send him down to the minors to slightly tweak his mechanics and get him back on the right path. Everyone also knows that he had only two starts in the minors, was recalled, and has bounced back ever since. But, for me, “bounced back” isn’t a strong enough statement to describe his performance of late. Scherzer is probably one of the better stories in fantasy baseball this year, but he doesn’t seem to be getting enough credit for the clinic he’s put on in the last couple of months.

June and July
Right away, Scherzer started putting up numbers that owners (and the Tigers) had expected of him. He was striking out over a batter an inning, keeping the walks at a reasonable level, and not getting killed by the longball. These two months were nothing special (for Scherzer), but they proved that the ship may be righted for good.

Scherzer had some troubles keeping a high K-rate in August, but that was due more to bad luck than to diminished ability. He lowered his walk totals, and thanks to a .254 opponents BABIP, he turned in a nice and shiny 1.29 ERA.

This is where Scherzer has really shined. During the month of September, Scherzer has lowered his walk totals even further, but has been striking out more than a batter an inning once again. For a pitcher with a very high strikeout rate, a 4.88 K/BB is more than anyone could ask for. He has been beyond dominant lately. To prove a point, here is Scherzer’s last five starts.

9 IP, 9 K, 1 BB, 1 ER
7.1 IP, 6 K, 2 BB, 4 ER
6 IP, 5 K, 1 BB, 4 ER
8 IP, 11 K, 2 BB, 2 ER
7.2 IP, 8 K, 2 BB, 0 ER

Not only is Scherzer striking batters out at a high rate, but he’s also pitching deep into games, something that has become underrated in fantasy circles. In my mind, Scherzer shouldn’t fall past the fifth or sixth round next year, and should be the first Tigers’ pitcher off the board. That’s right, Max Scherzer is better than Justin Verlander, and should be treated like it.