Keeper Search: Max Scherzer

One of the most frustrating pitchers to own the last couple of years has to be Detroit’s Max Scherzer. Sporting as much consistency as a bowl of thick soup, Scherzer has been teasing his owners for years in terms of what his true upside is, while also giving them frequent glimpses at how awful he can truly be.

And if you look at the surface numbers right now, most of his owners are probably ready to jump ship again.

But if you jump ship now, you’ll probably regret it.

Look past the 5.67 ERA and 1.54 WHIP and you’ll see a starting pitcher sporting a 12 K/9 that has been mostly victimized by a high BABIP (.394) and a high HR/9 (1.67). Factor in that Scherzer has only made 10 starts, and it will only take 2-3 solid outings to get these numbers back down to normal.

In four of his last five starts, Scherzer has struck out 9 or more batters while issuing only 6 walks total. The problem though is he’s given up 27 hits and  7 HR during that span. But  again, this is just one of many similar stretches Scherzer has had during his career, which seems to keep a glass ceiling on his value.

The key to owning Scherzer is to not let the rough stretches get to you. Focus on the fact that he’s 3rd in the AL with 72 K’s (just behind teammate Justin Verlander and Seattle’s Felix Hernandez, who both have 75 K’s) and he’s done this in only 54 IP. He is definitely not a pitcher for the weak of heart or one to build a rotation around but where will you find another No. 3 fantasy starter with this kind of K ability?

If you own Scherzer in your keeper league and you just can’t take the inconsistency any more, just close your eyes until he gets hot – that’s the only time you can sell him for anything close to his real value. But if you’re trying to make your way up the standings and need a big payout to make it happen, there isn’t a better gamble right now than Scherzer.

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About Jim Higgins

Jim grew up in San Diego the son of a Washington, D.C. native so naturally he roots for the Washington Redskins and San Diego Padres. After seeing his favorite teams win a couple of titles early in his life, he has spent the last 20 years wondering if his teams will ever amount to anything again. At least he has multiple fantasy baseball and football titles to soften the blow.

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