Max Scherzer has been almost exactly the same pitcher the last three years.  He pitches around a 3.75 xFIP then fights Nazis in the offseason.  (He sure is limber for being thousands of years old, made of mud and having two different color eyes!)  I say almost because his strikeout rate fell a tad in 2011, but nothing that I’m worried about.  His velocity was fully populated with speedballs.  Gas at 93 MPH on average.  Sometimes turning the heat up to 98 just to confuse thermometers.  Three years under his belt and he’s going to be 27 years old for half the season.  Don’t think we’ve seen the best of what Scherzer has to offer.  Can you tell my excitement.  I can’t even make complete sentences.  What’s got me even more excited for 2012?  He cut his walk rate last year.  To borrow a yokelism that no one says, that was the big junebug in his bonnet and he eradimacated it.  So what can we expect of Max Scherzer for 2012 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?

He’s not a Nolasco or a Morrow.  He doesn’t perpetually have an out-of-whack xFIP or FIP or OMUPS (Other Made Up Stat).  In 2010 his ERA was actually better than his xFIP.  Does this matter?  I’m not sure it does, but it makes me feel a lot more confident knowing that he’s not cursed every year.  As previously mentioned, his K-rate fell last year, but it looks like it was an anomaly rather than a trend.  So a pitcher that is between 185 and 200 Ks a year that always has a 3.75ish xFIP is a solid number two.  Hey, Grey, I’m flush with solid number twos!  Thanks, Random Italicized Voice.  Yes, a number two that gives you a 3.75 ERA isn’t Cy Young material, but a pitcher with Scherzer’s K upside can give you a 3.30 ERA with 200+ Ks.  Now we’re in number one starter territory.  I see his line at 14-8/3.70/1.30/195 with upside for more.  (Bee tee dubya, we ARE putting aside that I call him a sleeper every year.  Thanks for not mentioning that!)  The only man that can beat The Detroit Golem?  The Verlander!

  1. El Famous Burrito says:


    What is that picture from?

    It looks like a cross between an Old Navy mannequin and a a driedel.

  2. Wake Up says:

    I’ve said it once before but it bears repeating…Bumgarner reminds me an awful lot of Hanson last year. I hope you are prepared to dump him in June. I also warned about Hanson last year but you said that you didn’t remember. Try not to forget about this one. Strasburg will have more K’s and more IP than Bumgarner.

  3. exactly says:

    I just got to go back to the last post…gio gonzalez? I bought in last year, but every time I watched him pitched, I crapped my pants. He loves throwing all over the place. Too many walks for me. I think Yu, Kennedy, Wainwright and Hudson are all ahead of him.

  4. The Talented Mr. Dope Man says:

    @ Grey – in an AL only 12 team 5×5. What would you pay for Scherzer? what about Morrow?

  5. junker23 says:

    I’m kinda getting scared off of Detroit pitchers. That’s gonna be some bad defense. Pray for errors?

  6. sandles says:

    @Grey & Royce
    I see that Mr Peacock earliest pick is 226 at MDC. That was me!

  7. sandles says:

    I have done three mock @MDC and everytime I have selected Peacock my projections always go down. Lol I don’t think they like him very much.

  8. Wake Up says:

    I’d happily take Scherzer as my 3rd, reich after a lower WHIP type dude.

    I’ve been most looking forward to SP projections. Bummed that I missed out on the discussion earlier. Stupid job. I mean, I bet if I got a job, it would be stupid. Here are my top ten from 10-31-11:
    1. Halladay
    2. Verlander
    3. Kershaw
    4. King Felix
    5. C Lee
    6. Lincecum
    7. Sabathia
    8. Hamels
    9. Greinke


  9. MH says:


    Yeah Gio’s the other guy I was thinking about posting as a bit overrated (I mentioned CJ in the previous post), but he’s five years younger, strikes more batters out, his velocity has been creeping up, and he’s moving to the easier league. As a GB pitcher moving from a hitters park to a neutralish park, I also think the park factor boost CJ gets is a bit overrated, and the league difference and not having to face the AL’s elite offenses is a bit bigger even if the park factors are neutral at best for Gio. Thus, Gio’s ranking is a bit more forgivable. He probably has a better chance of either improving his peripherals towards his ERA or maintaining his ERA-FIP difference. If you like Yovani Gallardo I think there’s still a lot of reason to like Gio. Though FWIW, I’d almost definitely have Latos a bit ahead of him, and possibly guys like Cain, Strasburg, Wainwright, and Garza, though probably not Kennedy and Hudson.

    Also of note–the okay thing about a guy like Strasburg is, at least in Roto, if there’s any month you want a pitcher to miss its September, when the number of streaming options increases pretty substantially and you’re more trying to fine tune your roster to meet (or properly exceed, if your league allows it) an innings limit instead of finding the best rest-of-season values. Like a Catholic Priest, you can play around with some hot youngsters, or if you’re more the secular type simply look at which arms have favorable matchups against teams that are worried more about cleaning out their lockers than hitting baseballs.

  10. Grey

    Grey says:

    @sandles: Well done!

    @Wake Up: Ha! Wait, those are the top 10 guys you posted on Halloween? Great minds…

    @MH: Yeah, was gonna mention the Strasburg thing this morning. Streaming options definitely go up in September.

  11. IHateBudSelig says:

    Hey Grey,

    Would you ever consider doing your famous tiers for AL and NL Only leagues?


  12. Wake Up says:

    @Grey: Nice. Yes, I always do my pitcher projections in a sexy nurse costume, hopped up on candy and chocolate. McCarthy sleeper coming soon? Decent pairing with Scherzer actually.

  13. JoeC says:

    @Wake Up: Why does Bumgarner remind you of Tommy Hanson? Because of their size?

    Any other correlation you see beyond that?

  14. JeffFromTallahassee says:

    Yeah, I don’t see the connection either besides they both have a ton of potential. The difference is that Hanson’s shoulder still isn’t 100% and he throws in a jerky motion that begs for an injury so he is one of the riskiest pitchers going into the year. Mad-B doesn’t have the injury risk and plays in a pitchers park. Hanson will be overdrafted even if he goes 50 spots ahead of Bumgarner.

  15. This kind of Golem could be precious, just not the Gollum, proper noun kind of Precious. That would be creepy… er. The graphic gives me a chuckle.

  16. JeffFromTallahassee says:

    @JeffFromTallahassee: I meant 50 spots “behind” Bumgarner…

  17. mauledbypandas says:

    Vazquez worth a flier this year? He sure was dynamite at the end of last year

  18. Wake Up says:

    I was speaking about what I said in Jan. 2011 about Hanson, that’s why I said last year, of course everyone knows about his shoulder now. @JoeC: No, not their size.

  19. Steve says:

    It would be nice this season if:

    A) Scherzer could make it out of the 6th a little more often

    B) If A) doesn’t pan out, Leyland, blows the cigarette smoke away, actually sees what is happening and gets him the hell out of there before Scherzer craps all over my goddamn ratios.


  20. mic says:

    @Wake Up: so what are their similarities… i want to know…

  21. James L Legade says:

    I don’t know that I am going to acquire any of the pitchers off the top 20 list so I will be hitting on the Scherzer-y types for sure.

    Keeper Question:

    Mixed keeper league

    4 keepers with a $260 budget, 2 catcher, 5 OF and the only weirdness is your keeper price goes up $3 every year you keep them.

    Who would you keep if you were the GM of the The Ape-Ocalypse? (which you kinda are as I just follow your rankings every year)

    Jesus Montero $4 (only needs 5 games at catcher to qualify)
    Alex Avila $4
    Ricky Romero $3
    Robinson Cano $30
    Alex Gordon $4
    Asdrubal Cabrera $4

  22. JoeC says:

    @Wake Up: Do you just mean that Bumgarner is, like Hanson was last year, a young pitcher who’s being over-sold?

  23. MH says:

    @Wake Up

    I’m curious as well…is this about breaking ball usage? They do both throw a lot of sliders….but not quite obscene amounts. Plus if I’m not mistaken the common belief is that sliders put stress on the elbow, not so much, the shoulder, no? I could be mistaken.

  24. Steve says:

    @royce!: To be fair, I did steal the gag from big o, but I’m more than happy to wallow in the glow of your admiration.

  25. Steve says:

    @royce!: @Steve: Actually, if it’s a glow, I’m probably basking in it…

  26. @Grey: Any time. That one was just extra funny. Another positive note on The Max from that data I put together is that he sat at +1.2 K%, which equated to +10 K and 8.5 eK/9 over 195 IP. Yuuuuuup.

  27. Grey

    Grey says:

    @centralohguy: Very yuuuuup. Now we both owe Hester money.

  28. Steve says:

    @Grey: Time to adjust the pitcher rankings. Livan Hernandez signs with the Astros.

  29. @Grey: Wonder how many Hester clones will be sitting at live fantasy auctions bidding people yuuuuup this year.

    Steve made a good point about Scherzer being not quite as desirable in QS leagues. Avg 5.9 IP /Start.

  30. OaktownSteve says:

    His walk rate went down but his WHIP went up and his K rate went down. I watched him pitch a few times last year and he still seems like a thrower to me. He can either be wild outside the strike zone or wild inside it (meaning getting too much plate). I’d like to see some progression in his command of the fastball. That said, it’s a nice price for a guy with the talent to put together a good season. I’m just not quite sold on him based on the ol’ eyeball test.

  31. JoeC says:

    @OaktownSteve: ZOMG, you watched playerz with your eyezzzzz.

    You are so stupid!

  32. Public Enemy #1 says:

    Grey, thanks for continuing to put out decent reads instead of the mainstream garbage that other more well known sites put out. That said, I think you have Number Two Starter-itis. Your perception of what it takes to be a number two is a little off. Scherzer would be a nice number two in a pretty deep league (15+ teams), but I don’t think he fills the void in a 10 to 12-teamer.
    I get what you’re kind of saying though. I suppose if things break right, he could be a number two in regard to a couple categories. However, if he’s relied on as a number two and puts up a 3.70/1.30 then a lot has to be un-done with the number three, four and five starters from a team’s fantasy roster just to get into the mid-to-upper echelon of the ERA and Whip categories (Think 7 points or so in a 10 team league, maybe 8 or 9 in a 12 teamer.

  33. Public Enemy #1 says:

    I guess what I’m saying is that I don’t think a legit number two should set you back at all in Whip, ERA or Ks. They should only help to offset what the back end of the rotation can’t quite do.

  34. Tom says:

    Grey what round do you think ike davis will be going this year – 12 team h2h

  35. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Tom: 10th-ish…

  36. Tom Thumb says:

    Will likely take a lot of Scherzer types as well and avoid drafting from the top tier. But I worry about guys like Scherzer and Bumgarner who have completely lost their mechanics before for months at a time…

  37. Public Enemy #1 says:


    I might take a flier on that. Probably as a number 3 or 4 though. Either way, he’ll be cheap and the Ks are nice. I think there’s probably more upside with Scherzer in h2h leagues though. Looking forward to 21-40 tomorrow…let’s do this!

  38. EDUB says:

    Would Pineda in Seattle have cracked the top 20?

    I traded Jennings (since I had Crawford and Fellatio) for Pineda instead of Latos the day before Pineda got dealt, and then to top it off about a week and a half later Crawford has wrist surgery. What a way to start my offseason

  39. Grey

    Grey says:

    @EDUB: He was in the top 20 before the trade.

  40. Wake Up says:

    You da man Grey!

  41. Wake Up says:

    I’m half way through an American Pickers marathon and 2/4 of the way through a bottle of Eagle Rare and we’re both about to hit the honeyhole. Thanks for all the interest today. Either you think Bumgarner is gonna turn into Kershaw or he’s gonna have a season like Hanson just did, there is no C. I don’t know why. There just isn’t. You know where I stand, but now I’m sitting. Imma stand up and see if this chick wants to check out my small sample size. So, as Faulkner once told Hemingway, “You do you and imma do me.”

  42. exactly says:

    @MH: I like your argument, but I just have a feeling that the move from AL to NL isn’t going to help Gio as much. I like your call on Garza, he performed well towards the end of the season and his overall peripherals show a decent improvement this year, that is until he gets traded back to the AL East and goes all AJ Burnett on us.

  43. ahwood23 says:

    Have a couple dynasty questions for you:

    I was offered (his) Moustakas and Hultzen for (my) Belt and Mesoraco – thoughts?

    Also was offered (his) McCutchen and Zack Wheeler for (my) Bryce Harper and Mesoraco – leaning away from this one, as Harper is cheaper and locked up long term in our league, but contracts and everything else being even, how would you handle those 2 offers?


  44. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Wake Up: I just did a Downton Abbey marathon, what a bore.

    @ahwood23: I’d take McCutchen, but salaries do matter.

  45. Steve says:

    @Grey: I quite like it but could see why you (and other Americans) might not like it so much.

  46. Steve says:

    Oh – and Lady Sybil is HOT.

  47. chata says:

    Grey is the author of c)

    @ Grey
    am ‘way’ late to the discussion , but ,
    gio in the top 20 has gotten you “way” out on the ledge .

    yeah , there’s the trade-off of the oakland colossal-seum for the
    no ‘DH’ (and the mets) of the eastern national , BUT ,

    the kid’s a whiner , i tell ya !

    consider going from the cool oakland nights to the hot-as-hell
    D.C. summers .
    that attitude ain’t gonna do you no favors .

    197 k’s is a razz-full , but the few times that i watched him pitch , he
    didn’t attack the hitters to my liking (<== seems absurd , i know) .
    is he a nit-picker ?
    i don't know .

    cust kayin' ….. pizz off a few hot-under-the-collar national league umps ,
    with their strike zone , and we could be looking at 165/125 (k/bb) ratio .

    find your k's elsewhere , my friend .

    and don't worry , you still have the lead role in my up-coming reality show .
    the title is still to be decided .
    what do you think ?
    a) the Deadliest K(atch) ,
    b) Bizarre K's
    d) Picker K's

  48. chata says:


    you are excluded from using me , in your comment #51 ,
    as there’s not much that i do like .

    and , in this case , (like many others) , i have no idea what you guys
    are talking about .

  49. Aaron says:

    Who would you keep? I’m torn.

    Gio Gonzalez @ $10
    Max Scherzer @ $5

    BTW, I really enjoy your rankings. Your site is great to follow.

Comments are closed.