Why They Can Win It
Mar 27, 2015; Melbourne, FL, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann (27) throws against the St. Louis Cardinals at Space Coast Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports
Max Scherzer – Interesting stat for you: Max Scherzer faced 88 No. 9 hitters last season (9.7% of all hitters he faced). They went to put up a slash line of .309/.345/.481 with 39 total bases (per ESPN). Now, in 531 ABs, the average No. 9 hitter in the National League hit .166/.215/.229 (also coincidentally making up 9.7% of all ABs in the NL). We can assume No. 9 hitters doing so well against him last season was an anomaly, as they never hit above .247 in any of his other years in Detroit. So if we were to take Scherzer’s 2014 stats and replace the actual No. 9 hitters he faced with the average National League No. 9 hitter (usually a pitcher), his numbers look like this: 2.82 ERA, 1.148 WHIP, 261 SO. As these numbers are based off of his 2014 numbers, quantify that with the fact that a majority of the National League hitters he will see in the first half of the season will never have faced him before. Ladies and gentlemen, watch out. Max Scherzer is poised to take the NL by storm.
Stephen Strasburg – In Randy Johnson‘s age 25 season, he went 7-13 with a 4.82 ERA. Sandy Koufax? 18-13 with a 3.92 ERA. How about Bob Gibson? 13-12 with a 3.24 ERA. All three of these pitchers have their names enshrined at Cooperstown. Yet, none of them performed as well in their age 25 seasons as Stephen Strasburg did. Now, this is not to say Strasburg is on his way to the Hall of Fame, but he has a long career ahead of him that would allow him to make a case to do so. Why couldn’t 2015 be the year he breaks out and becomes the superstar he was thought to be when he was drafted? Since his Tommy John surgery in 2010, he has slowly increased his inning count and strikeout totals. He still sports a 94 mph fastball and a repertoire of breaking balls that can freeze up some of the best hitters in the game. What’s not to like?
Jordan Zimmermann – Adam Wainwright and Clayton Kershaw. Those are the names of the only two pitchers in Major League Baseball to have more than Jordan Zimmerman‘s 7 complete games over the past two years. Not convinced? Zimmermann’s BB/9 of 1.307 ranked 3rd in baseball last season, while his FIP of 2.68 ranked 7th, his HR/9 of 0.586 ranked 10th, and his WHIP of 1.072 ranked 9th. He finished 5th in Cy Young voting, earned his second All-Star selection, and pitched a dazzling 8.2 innings of one run ball in the playoffs. 2015 is also the final year of Zimmermann’s contract, giving him the added incentive to perform well in his walk year. At age 29, he is still in the middle of his prime and has shown no signs of regression.
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