Thursday, August 23, 2012

Max Scherzer's Unusual Season

Max Scherzer is having an unusual season that would put him in exclusive territory.  With another start, he would be one of only a handful of pitchers ever with at least 150 innings pitched in a season and an average of over 11 strikeouts per 9 innings pitched. 

7 pitchers have combined for such seasons:
Dwight Gooden (1984)
Nolan Ryan (1987, 1989)
Hideo Nomo (1995)

Randy Johnson (1995, 1997-2002)
Pedro Martinez (1997, 1999-2000)
Curt Schilling (1997)
Kerry Wood (1998, 2001, 2003)
Max Scherzer (2012)

The problem for Max is that he would have by far the highest ERA (4.27) and WHIP (1.37) of them.  The highest ERA in any of the previous 18 seasons was 3.40 (Kerry Wood's rookie season in 1998) and the highest WHIP was 1.26 (Kerry Wood in 2001).  His walk rate isn't terrible (3.2 BB/9), but he is surprisingly hittable for a great strikeout pitcher. 

The league is hitting .265 against him, making him 66th among qualified pitchers, right alongside Tim Lincecum and Zack Greinke.   He has also given up 22 home runs, tied for 15th most in the league despite being 55th in innings pitched.  To be fair, he is still being haunted by his terrible April (1-3, 7.77 ERA 24.1 IP, 37 H, 13 BB).  He is not having a bad season (13-6), but a very unusual one that could make him an outlier in a very exclusive club.

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