Max Scherzer's MLB Odds to Receive the NL Cy Young Award

Max Scherzer’s MLB Odds to Receive the Cy Young Award

Written by on July 10, 2015

Max Scherzer emerged as a dominant member of the Detroit Tigers’ rotation a couple of years ago, but he was working in the shadow of the great Justin Verlander. This MLB betting season, though, while Verlander still tries to find his way, Scherzer is sawing off bats every fifth day out in the National League.

A Inside Look at Max Scherzer’s MLB Odds to Receive the NL Cy Young Award

In 2014, Scherzer was still in Detroit, and playing out the last year of his contract. His dominant performance showed the Tigers that Scherzer deserved a huge contract. Unfortunately, Detroit had too much money tied up for other players, and they couldn’t give him an offer competitive with what the Nationals offered, and then Scherzer was off to the nation’s capital. The investment has paid off big-time for Washington thus far in 2015. While Zack Greinke’s ERA might be a little lower right now, what Scherzer is doing is unbelievable, and he has a track record of putting together solid entire seasons, while Greinke still has a ways to go to show us that durability. So here are five reasons why Scherzer has already won the award.

#1 Smooth movement to the National League

Moving to the senior circuit isn’t always easy for pitchers. It generally does help a pitcher when he’s seeing hitters for the first time, as it takes them some time to adjust to his tendencies. However, having to bat added another wrinkle to Scherzer’s preparation. You might point out that Scherzer began with the Diamondbacks, but back then his numbers were unimpressive. He mostly came out of the bullpen that first season. The next season he started 30 games but only posted a 4.12 ERA. In Detroit, Scherzer only went over 4 with ERA one time, and he did a good job overpowering batters in the junior circuit. Most people claim the AL is tougher for pitchers – after all, there is a designated hitter in the lineup instead of that pitcher at the bottom of the order. Other pitchers have had a hard time jumping leagues, but Scherzer definitely isn’t.

#2 Lots of strikeouts

At the halfway point, Max Scherzer is just two strikeouts behind the major league lead, with 139 Ks. He’s nowhere near the right pace to match Nolan Ryan’s single season record of 383, but that record was set in 1973 and will probably never be broken. His current pace would get him to 280, which is more than 10 percent higher than his current career best. In his first 16 starts, Scherzer struck out over 10 batters six times and over 9 batters eight times. He moves from one pitch to another frequently, and breaking balls have ridiculous movement that baffles hitters. If you consider these high strikeouts in addition to Scherzer’s other numbers, there’s no way you overlook him for the Cy Young. Of course, he has to maintain this for the rest of the season.

#3 His record is more about a lack of run support

OK, for you nay-sayers, it’s true that Max Scherzer has lost six games already in the 2015 season. In 2013, he only lost three games. However, his ERA this year is a sparkling 1.82. So when the Nationals are losing his starts, it’s not because he’s spotting the other team some runs. In his six losses, he has permitted a maximum of four earned runs – in two of the losses. He also has a no-decision in which he permitted one earned run but the Nats won after going to the bullpen. Run support has been lacking for Scherzer. In those six losses and the no-decision, the Nats have scored an average of 1.57 runs. Even if you bump that up by a run or so, he could have a record of 11-4 or 13-2. Can you imagine if he had a record of 13-2 with that same 1.82 ERA at the All-Star break? People would be talking about him catching Bob Welch with that 27-win season, or even approaching 30 if the team wanted to accelerate his starts a bit. Of course, the postseason is more important in Washington than a 30-win season, but you never know.

#4 His numbers are MVP-worthy.

Because the Cy Young Award is only for pitchers, it’s rare to see a pitcher also win the league’s MVP award. True, Clayton Kershaw won it last year, but he was only the second one since 1992 to do it. Kershaw’s 2014 numbers were like this: 21-3, 1.77 ERA, 239 K, 0.86 WHIP, 6 CG, 2 SO. If he hadn’t missed six starts due to an injury, they could have even better. If you adjust Scherzer’s win-loss record because of run support, he would be on track to match – or beat – Kershaw’s numbers. Scherzer’s on track to almost double that strikeout total, in fact. Scherzer could still get well over 20 wins. So while we’re on the topic of the Cy Young, we can also consider writing Scherzer’s name in ink among the finalists for the National League MVP award. Stay tuned.

#5 No one’s hitting him.

Even though we’re only halfway through the 2015 season, Scherzer has already tossed a no-hitter. If he hadn’t hit a batter in that game, it would have been a perfect gem. Every start is a potential no-hitter for Scherzer right now. There’s a buzz around the game when it’s his turn in the rotation that is rare in Major League Baseball. Given the fact that the most runs he’s permitted is four, and that he’s only done that twice, his typical start is a dominant one. Consider the starts before and after his no-hitter. The start before was a complete-game shutout in which he only permitted one hit. After the no-hitter, he had a perfect game going into the fifth inning. His opponents would break through and get on base, but the game was still a tremendous one. His WHIP ranks first in all of baseball, and by a huge margin. Behind is 0.78 WHIP is Zack Greinke – who has a 0.91.
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