Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Nice List: Max Scherzer
Last offseason, the Nationals waited until late January before they made the surprise signing of ace pitcher Max Scherzer to a seven-year, $210 million deal. When a pitcher receives that much money, there are lofty expectations attached to that player. Scherzer lived up to the hype in his first year with the Nationals. He provided great moments for the fans by throwing two no-hitters and a one-hitter.
In 33 starts this past season, Scherzer went 14-12 with a 2.79 ERA in 228.2 innings pitched and finished fifth in the voting for the National League Cy Young award. He was second in the NL in strikeouts (276) and fourth in WHIP (0.92). The four complete games were impressive for Scherzer when you consider he had not thrown a complete game in his career coming into the season.
Out of the 33 starts he made, he had 10+ strikeouts in 11 of those games, including a 16- strikeout game against the Milwaukee Brewers back in May and a 17 strikeout game in his final start of the year against the New York Mets (second no-hitter). While he had a rough patch after the All-Star Break, he showed dominance during his first season.
Now, with Mike Maddux as his pitching coach in 2016, Scherzer will look to continue his dominance and stay on the nice list this time next year. However the expectations will continue to stay sky high on both Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg now that Jordan Zimmermann is in the American League, pitching for the Detroit Tigers.
Next: Nice List #3