Tuesday, May 6, 2008

What happened to Max Scherzer?

Before you go all disappointed on me, relax.

It was his first Major League start. And, yes, the hype was unbearable.

Sure, Max Scherzer didn't live up to the billing, lasting just 4 innings and 92 laboring pitches. He gave up 7 hits, 2 BB, 5 runs, but only 2 of them earned.

And after striking out 7 of the 13 batters he faced in his debut, Scherzer fanned only 5 of the 24 Phillies he faced in the desert Monday night, including Pat Burrell twice and Ryan Howard once.

So, what was the problem.

Just like the real estate market. Location, location, location.

“I didn’t get ahead of the hitters as well as I did last time, and that’s just the difference,” Scherzer told the AP.

Mad Max struggled to find the strike zone early in the count and according to manager Bob Melvin, when his 98-mph fastball wasn't hitting for a strike, his secondary pitches, a 93-mph sinker and a developing slider were also just missing in key times.

Scherzer finished with 58 strikes and 34 balls.

Fantasy owners everywhere are sure to blame the "experts" out there branding Scherzer as a can't-miss prospect. In some leagues, he may even be dropped today. And if that's the case, don't hesitate to grab him. Otherwise, he makes a nice buy-low candidate this week.

After all, this is a guy with just one year of minor league seasoning, not even a full year. On the advice of agent Scott Boras, Scherzer held out 11 months after being drafted 11th overall in the 2006 draft and signed on the eve of the 2007 draft.

So, before this year, his resume only carried 72 2/3 IP.

Does he need seasoning? Of course.

Will he stay up in the bigs? That all depends on his next couple starts.

But Scherzer watched closely as old man Jamie Moyer, 45, and his low-80s fastball continue to befuddle a stout Arizona lineup.

“I know firsthand, he throws a 74 mile-an-hour change, then backs it up with a 71 mile-an-hour change," said Scherzer, who was 2 when Moyer debuted with the Cubs. "He’s cutting it to both sides of the plate at 81 or 82, and his fastball’s about the same velocity, but he knows how to pitch."

Scherzer will one day soon. Just give him a little time.


Anonymous said...

I have Scherzer in two leagues and started him one last night just because I had some doubts. Nick Adenhart will be someone to eye closely tonight in KC. I'm hoping Adenhart and Scherzer will help make up for my Ian Kennedy and Phil Hughes draft day misfortunes.