Max Scherzer
Max Scherzer
34-Year-Old PitcherSP
Washington Nationals
2018 Fantasy Outlook
For the fourth time in the last five seasons, Scherzer posted an ERA below 3.00 and a WHIP below 1.00 while throwing 200 or more innings. Since the start of the Expansion Era in 1961, only four other pitchers have matched that level of dominance (Pedro Martinez, Greg Maddux, Juan Marichal and Sandy Koufax), and no pitcher has delivered five seasons at that level. Scherzer nearly fell short with his workload in 2017, as a series of minor injuries in the second half cost him time. Fortunately, none of the injuries (neck, calf, hamstring) were to his arm. Skills wise, he's showing no signs of slowing down as he rolls through his early 30s, as his 34.4 percent strikeout rate (12.0 K/9) was a career-high while opposing hitters hit a meager .176 against him. Further refinement of the changeup has given Scherzer yet another plus weapon for his arsenal, and as long as he's healthy, his eventual decline should be a very graceful one. He'll be among the first few pitchers off the board again in 2018. Read Past Outlooks
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$Scherzer agreed to a seven-year, $210 million contract with the Nationals in January of 2015.
No longer starting Sunday
PWashington Nationals
September 29, 2018
Scherzer will not start Sunday's season finale for the Nationals, Dan Kolko of MASN Sports reports. Erick Fedde will take his place.
Per Chelsea Janes of The Washington Post, Nationals manager Dave Martinez made the move because both the Dodgers and Rockies have clinched playoff berths. It was reported earlier in the week that if Colorado were still fighting for a playoff berth, Scherzer would work for the Nationals. Instead, Mad Max will finish another outstanding season with a 2.53 ERA, 300 strikeouts (12.2 K/9), 51 walks (2.1 BB/9) and an 18-7 record in 220.2 innings. Unfortunately, fantasy players counting on Scherzer during their championship chase have to find alternatives. Considering this one takes place at Coors Field, Fedde (5.24 ERA in 10 starts) is only a desperation replacement.
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Left/Right Pitching Splits
Since 2016
BAA Batters K BB H 2B 3B HR
Since 2016vs Left .218 1335 369 112 261 62 7 45
Since 2016vs Right .158 1213 483 50 180 41 4 31
2018vs Left .197 452 141 32 81 20 3 12
2018vs Right .179 414 159 19 69 16 2 11
2017vs Left .215 420 110 38 80 18 0 16
2017vs Right .136 360 158 17 46 12 2 6
2016vs Left .242 463 118 42 100 24 4 17
2016vs Right .156 439 166 14 65 13 0 14
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Home/Away Pitching Splits
Since 2016
ERA on Road
ERA at Home
ERA on Road
ERA at Home
Since 2016Home 2.74 0.93 331.2 24 10 0 12.2 2.2 1.0
Since 2016Away 2.60 0.93 317.0 30 10 0 11.3 2.3 1.1
2018Home 2.51 0.87 132.2 10 3 0 12.6 2.0 1.0
2018Away 2.56 0.97 88.0 8 4 0 11.8 2.3 0.8
2017Home 3.25 1.00 97.0 6 4 0 12.2 2.5 1.0
2017Away 1.82 0.81 103.2 10 2 0 11.8 2.4 1.0
2016Home 2.56 0.93 102.0 8 3 0 11.8 2.1 0.9
2016Away 3.28 1.00 126.1 12 4 0 10.7 2.3 1.5
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Stat Review
How does Max Scherzer compare to other starting pitchers?
This section compares his stats with all starting pitcher seasons from the previous three seasons (minimum 120 innings). The bar represents the player's percentile rank. For example, if the bar is halfway across, then the player falls into the 50th percentile for that stat and it would be considered average.
94.4 mph
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
Scherzer posted his second straight season with a sub-3.00 ERA and sub-1.00 WHIP, his third straight with more than 250 strikeouts, his fourth straight with more than 210 innings pitched, and his second 20-win campaign en route to his second Cy Young Award, becoming the sixth pitcher in history to win the award in each league. In fact, his 11.2 K/9 rate was the best of his career, and while his BB/9 and HR/9 rates showed some regression, the former in particular has a long way to go before it will be anything close to a concern. Scherzer has become the prototype of a modern ace, and his presence at the top of the Nats' rotation allows them to weather Stephen Strasburg's annual DL trips better than most other organizations could. As long as the stress fracture in his finger suffered over the winter is healed by spring training, he should remain one of the majors' truly elite starting pitchers.
It's fair to say that the Nationals got their money's worth from Scherzer. After signing a massive seven-year, $210 million contract in the offseason, the former Tiger ace was utterly dominant in the first half, posting a 2.11 ERA and 0.78 WHIP while winning 10 games. His numbers slid a bit after the All-Star break, but Scherzer still finished the season with career-bests in innings, ERA, WHIP, strikeouts and walks. He also threw two no-hitters, missing a perfect game each time by one baserunner, and his 17-K, zero-BB performance in the second one ranks as one of the greatest starts of all time. The 31-year-old right-hander will have a hard time coming up with an encore, but he may not have to. If the Nats get better health from their offense and better play under new manager Dusty Baker, Scherzer could improve significantly on last year's 14 wins even if his other numbers erode.
Scherzer backed up his 2013 Cy Young campaign with another stellar season for the Tigers. He finished 18-5 with a 3.15 ERA and 1.18 WHIP while setting career-highs in strikeouts (252) and innings (220.1). His 2.91 FIP was right on line with the 2.89 FIP posted in 2013, but Scherzer didn’t have as much luck with BABIP (.325) this time around. Scherzer continued to rely heavily on his fastball, which setup his changeup, slider and a curveball he used more than in past seasons. The 30-year-old righty hit free agency in the midst of his prime. For a starting pitcher his age, Scherzer has a surprising light workload of 1,239 innings, and he has proven to be very durable the last few years. He'll move to the NL after signing a seven-year deal with Washington. He should be among the strikeout leaders once again with the Nationals and a topnotch option to lead any fantasy staff.
Based on the strong advanced metrics (9.4 K/9, 3.56 xFIP) that he has posted throughout his career, pundits have been clamoring for Scherzer to hit that next level for years. Not only did the long-awaited breakout from Scherzer fully materialize in 2013, but he exceeded even the most optimistic of projections. The 28-year-old starter took home the AL Cy Young Award after leading the league in wins (21) and WHIP (0.97) while finishing second in strikeouts (240) and fifth in ERA (2.90). His fastball continued to hover in the mid-90s with movement and his slider developed from a solid pitch to one of the more elite breaking balls in the majors. Scherzer also improved his walk rate, allowing a career-best 2.4 BB/9. His improvements across the board can be attributed to his continued refinement of a more consistent delivery, which has corralled some of the wildness displayed earlier in his career while allowing his electric stuff to post more consistent results. The Tigers freed up a significant portion of their future budget by trading Prince Fielder to Texas, opening up the possibility of long-term extension to keep him in Detroit. Scherzer appears headed for another strikeout-heavy campaign filled with plenty of fantasy value.
Early-season struggles made it seem like Scherzer might have another roller coaster campaign in 2012, but he righted the ship after a brutal month of April to post his best season as a pro. In 27 starts from May 5 through the end of the season, Scherzer went 15-4 with a 3.14 ERA and 204 strikeouts over 163.1 innings. He saw a huge jump in strikeouts, finishing second in the majors to teammate Justin Verlander with 231 strikeouts while posting a league-best 11.1 K/9. Other than his slider becoming slightly more effective, Scherzer's arsenal remained consistent to what we have seen from him in past seasons - he was just able to corral everything together better in 2012. At 28, Scherzer is in his prime, and while we might see a slight dip in his strikeouts, he has all the tools to replicate the overall success we saw from him in 2012.
The 27-year-old failed to live up to the promise he showed in the second half of the 2010 season, but Scherzer was still able to put together a solid campaign in 2011. He finished the year 15-9 with a 4.43 ERA, 1.349 WHIP and 174 strikeouts in 195 innings. Once considered a problem area, Scherzer was able to refine his control last season, finishing with a career-best mark of 2.58 BB/9IP. His increase in ERA may give some pause, but Scherzer's xFIP (3.70) shows that he was close to the same pitcher as in 2010. While Scherzer hasn't taken that next step yet, he has the necessary arsenal to reach higher levels of production than we've seen since from him so far. Target him as a middle-of-the-rotation option with hopes he starts fulfilling some of his potential.
Scherzer's debut season with the Tigers got off to a rocky start, as the 25-year-old righty saw a dip in fastball velocity and had difficulty commanding his breaking ball during the first two months of the season. As a result, Detroit sent Scherzer on a short stint to Triple-A Toledo to right the ship. After rediscovering both his velocity and slider during his trip to Toledo, Scherzer came back to the big leagues stronger than at any other point in his young career. Over the course of his final 23 starts, Scherzer went 11-7 with a 2.46 ERA and 158 strikeouts in 153.2 innings. With his solid strikeout rate (8.5 K/9IP) and continued improvement in control (3.2 BB/9IP), the former first-round pick remains a strong middle-of-the rotation option, but it's his potential to develop into an ace that should make him an attractive target on draft day.
Scherzer made strides in his second full season in the Arizona rotation, making 30 starts before the D-Backs shut him down in an effort to protect his arm. Starting pitchers who can strike out more than a batter per inning (9.19 K/9IP) with ample command (3.33 BB/9IP) are few and far between, which made it surprising when he was traded to Detroit last winter. Scherzer continues to look the part of the front-line starter that the D-Backs were hoping for when they drafted him 11th overall in 2006. With Rick Porcello and Justin Verlander, Detroit could have one of the strongest rotation trios if Scherzer continues to develop. Don't be surprised if he significantly increases his win total this season as the Tigers will be able to let him take on a full 200-inning workload and to pitch deeper into games after Arizona handled him with kid gloves during his first two seasons.
When healthy, Scherzer was as good as advertised for the D-Backs during his rookie season, dominating hitters to the tune of a 10.61 K/9IP mark in his first 56 major league innings. Splitting the season between Arizona and Triple-A, Scherzer spent time as a starter and in the bullpen at both levels, but the organization clearly views him as a starter in the D-Backs' 2009 rotation, as he was sent to the Arizona Fall League to increase innings count as well as continue the development of his secondary pitches, which include an improving change-up and slider to go along with his excellent fastball. The added work during the fall should enable Scherzer to provide 170-plus innings and cement his place as one of the team's top four starters, while the long-term outlook is very promising as he could emerge as the frontline replacement for Brandon Webb down the road.
Scherzer had an impressive professional debut as a starter after finally inking a deal with Arizona last May. He tore up High-A Visalia, as he should have considering that he was already 22, before fanning more than a batter per inning in 14 starts at Double-A Mobile. The D-Backs had Scherzer pitch in relief during the Arizona Fall League, while there have been debates in the past about whether he'd be more effective as a closer than a starter in the majors. Following the departure of Jose Valverde in a trade to Houston and the acquistion Dan Haren from Oakland, it seems as though closer might be the fast track to having him in the bigs for good, but keep an eye on whether he's pushing to break camp with Arizona during spring training, or if they're grooming him to be a starter at Triple-A.
More Fantasy News
Uncertain for Sunday's start
PWashington Nationals
September 28, 2018
Scherzer is expected to start Sunday's season finale if the Rockies have postseason implications on the line, Jamal Collier of reports.
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Fans 10 to reach 300 strikeouts
PWashington Nationals
September 25, 2018
Scherzer (18-7) allowed one run on five hits over seven innings to earn the win against the Marlins on Tuesday. He struck out 10 and did not walk a batter.
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Strikes out 13
PWashington Nationals
September 20, 2018
Scherzer allowed three earned runs on five hits and two walks while striking out 13 across seven innings Thursday against the Mets. He did not factor into the decision.
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Stumbles against Braves
PWashington Nationals
September 15, 2018
Scherzer (17-7) took the loss Friday as the Nationals fell 10-5 to the Braves, coughing up six runs on seven hits and three walks over four innings while striking out six.
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Goes distance vs. Cubs
PWashington Nationals
September 8, 2018
Scherzer (17-6) earned the win in Game 1 of Saturday's doublheader against the Cubs, allowing three runs on nine hits and zero walks in a complete game. He also struck out 11.
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