Max Scherzer | Pitcher | #37
2014 salary: $15.5 million
2013 statistics: 2.90 ERA, 2.74 FIP, 214.1 IP, 18 HR, 56 BB, 240 K, 2.35 BB/9, 10.08 K/9
Projected role: Rotation
Max Scherzer tantalized everyone for years with his unmissable talent, but it was 2013 where he finally got it all together and posted the numbers many believed he was capable of. The wins (and by extension the run support) got him the real mainstream attention, but the rest of the numbers are equally eye catching: he blasted past 200 innings for the first time in his career, cut his walks and maintained his strikeouts. The dominance followed.
Someone like Rick Porcello could take heart from Scherzer’s 2013. After some serious struggles over the years against lefties, Scherzer introduced a curveball that he used along with his changeup to negate their threat. After OPSing .831 against him in 2012, lefties managed just a .645 OPS against him in 2013. Combine that with a marked improvement against righties as well and it’s quite easy to see why Max had such a dominant season.
The good news is there’s very little in his overall profile that indicates his 2013 was a fluke. His BABIP was lower than normal at .259 and it’s probably going to come up a bit, but as long as he keeps the walks down and continues to neutralize lefties, his inconsistent seasons seem to be in his rearview mirror. The only problem for the Tigers is he’s headed for his contract year and it seems unlikely he’ll be doing much to hinder his potential value on the open market in 2014, even if his ERA does tick up slightly.