Maxwell Scherzer’s Consistent Dominance

Max Scherzer has this somewhat ridiculous meme attached to him. That whole “blue eye” on good days and “brown eye” on bad days has run its course and even the eye roll when you hear it is getting old.

But to borrow from that corny consternation, Maxwell has certainly been pitching out of that blue eye, and for a while now, and yes, that’s enough of that. He’s almost reached the status of “elite” over the last five months, with only a poor April and the inability to limit home runs, for the most part, keeping him out of the Cy Young Award talk.

Since his 15 strikeout game on May 20th, he has thrown 113 innings, struck out 147, walked 36 and allowed 42 runs to score. Those are some nice numbers, and I’ll leave it at that.

The question I suppose, is what has he changed since last year? Well, that’s fairly simple to explain.

To the graphs!

This year, Max has thrown four identifiable pitches. A Four Seamer, Change, Slider, and a Two Seamer, which he didn’t throw before this year (and still hasn’t thrown that often).

Type Count Selection Velocity Vertical Horizontal
FF 1528 58.8% 94.1 7.87 -7.30
CH 492 18.9% 85.5 0.72 -9.52
SL 489 18.8% 85.8 1.08 1.54
FT 91 3.5% 94.5 6.39 -11.23

So we see a four seam velocity of 94 MPH, and a change and slider combo that averages 85. Well, what about 2011?

Type Count Selection Velocity Vertical Horizontal
FF 1983 61.2% 93.1 7.60 -7.29
CH 656 20.3% 82.4 -0.35 -8.98
SL 599 18.5% 82.8 0.34 1.59

I think it’s fairly easy to see a whole mile per hour in difference between the two seasons.

How about 2010?

Type Count Selection Velocity Vertical Horizontal
FF 2111 64.5% 93.1 8.06 -7.37
CH 660 20.2% 83.6 0.86 -9.38
SL 501 15.3% 84.0 1.36 1.62
FA 2 0.1% 90.5 3.51 -9.77

Still a whole MPH faster this year than the last two seasons.

I think it’s fairly simple to explain, and while that type of velocity may not be sustainable, we may be talking about a year or two or five before he starts losing that extra oomph.

However, I did see something additional while looking through his data over the last three years, and while it may be slight, oh so very slight, it hints at the ability to repeat his delivery better than in the past.

Take a look.

The difference may be a matter of inches, but that’s all it takes. This year he’s been more consistent and slightly more over-the-top than in the past. If you add it to his increase in velocity, then you may see a recipe for longer success, which is certainly what every single person interested in the Missouri product is hoping for.

  • verlander

    I was just going to say, looks like he’s less 3/4 than in the past and it looks like that’s right. Also the release point on those few random pitches in 2010… I wonder what happened there.

    Nice work, fearless leader~!

    • Josh Worn

      Thanks, yeah it certainly looks like the over the top motion is helping with velocity and consistency. Now I wonder if we’re going to hear about rotator cuff issues in the next year or so.

      • Josh Worn

        Hence: Doooooooooooooooooommmmmmm

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