Max Scherzer Wins AL CY Young

by Chris Moran | Posted on Thursday, November 14th, 2013
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Max Scherzer

Detroit Tigers pitcher Max Scherzer was named the AL CY Young winner today. He won in a landslide, collecting 28 of the 30 first place votes. Scherzer went 21-3 with a 2.90 ERA, both career bests. Sure, we can have the debate about how much won-loss record measures a pitcher’s ability. It doesn’t mean anything. You could argue with me, but you’d be wrong.

Nevertheless, Scherzer, who is himself a stats geek, had a phenomenal year by any measure. Only Yu Darvish had a higher strikeout rate than Scherzer’s 28.7%. Also, Scherzer walked only 6.7% of hitters. Put those numbers together, and no AL starting pitcher had a better difference between walk and strikeout rate than Scherzer. Only Felix Hernandez and teammate Anibal Sanchez possessed a lower FIP than Scherzer’s 2.90. Add in the fact that Scherzer threw 214.1 innings to Sanchez’ 182 and Hernandez’ 204, and you get the AL leader in pitching WAR at 6.4. Yes, there were other deserving candidates. Sanchez was better on a per-inning basis, Hernandez was essentially the same pitcher except he had the support (or lack thereof) of the Seattle Mariners offense. Chris Sale was nearly as good without the benefit of making five starts against the worst hitting team in the AL. Yu Darvish had 277 strikeouts. Hisashi Iwakuma and Bartolo Colon had lower ERAs.

Teammate Rick Porcello had almost the exact same xFIP. (Ok, I’m not advocating Porcello for CY Young, I’m just throwing that out there because it’s interesting). Max Scherzer won easily, and maybe it should have been closer. Still, it was a great year and fully deserving of the CY Young. The Tigers had one of the best rotations in MLB history, and Scherzer was their ace. Even without the won-loss record, he had the numbers to back it up. Maybe these trade rumors are real, and maybe they aren’t. It’s hard to see a win-now team dealing away the reigning CY Young winner.

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Chris Moran
About the Author

Chris Moran is a second-year law student and assistant baseball coach at Washington University in St. Louis. He played baseball at Wheaton College where he donned the tools of ignorance. You can follow Chris on Twitter @hangingslurves.

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