So last season I broke down Max Scherzer, and pointed out the vast improvement in his game, as he recovered from a horrid opening month of the season. I said that he deserved honorable mentions for the CY Young award and he got those finishing with a, 3.74 ERA, 11.1 K/9, 2.9 BB/9 and a 1.274 WHIP. Scherzer also finished with 20 quality starts, struck out 29% of the batters he faced, walked 7.6% of the batters he faced and gave up home runs to 3% of the batters he faced. He also gave up extra base hits to 8% of the batters he faced and had a home run to fly ball rate of more than 9%.
Pitching in the American League, those numbers are all pretty good, thus the honorable mention for the CY Young Award. I did say that he was steadily improving all year, and this would be the year where he’d be a front runner for the AL CY Young Award.
So this year so far through 10 games Scherzer has an ERA of 3.08, a 10.8 K/9, 2.2 BB/9 and a miniscule 0.913 WHIP. Scherzer also has 10 quality starts, has struck out 31% of the batters he’s faced, walked 6.5% of the batters he’s faced and given up home runs to 2% of the batters he’s faced. He’s also given up extra base hits to 7% of the batters he’s faced and has a home run to fly ball rate of 6.5%.
There is clear improvement across the board in his peripheral stats, with the exception of his K/9 rate which is close to being very similar, which have contributed to the improvement of his more traditional statistics. He’s walking fewer batters, giving up far fewer hits (8.6 H/9 in 2012 compared to 6.0 H/9 so far in 2013), and a smaller percentage of his fly balls are ending up as home runs.
With all that being said, if you’re not a fan of the sterile study of sports through numbers, just watch him pitch. His stuff is filthy, and better than Verlander’s, and has been for a few years now, Scherzer’s control is just now catching up.
Let’s not forget his repertoire of “SHEEEET” moments (here’s my description of “SHEEEET” moments.)
So where does he stand on the list of CY Young Award contenders? As metrics friendly as the league has become over the past few years, when it comes to awards writers still rely on a few basic categories when casting their vote. So currently Scherzer is second in the AL in strikeouts, twelfth in ERA, first in wins, seventh in K/BB rate, second in WHIP and twelfth and in HR/9 rate. Assuming guys like Bartolo Colon and Hiroki Kuroda regress to the mean Scherzer should finish in the top 10 or better in all those categories. Unfortunately for Scherzer, Clay Buchholz, Felix Hernandez, Yu Darvish and his own teammate Anibal Sanchez are having an absurd pitching year and the two teammates could possibly steal votes from each other.
Even with his improvements, it will probably end up being another season with just honorable mentions for the CY Young Award for Max Scherzer, but with some increased run support his teammate Anibal Sanchez could be bringing the award to Detroit.
– Sunny D