As the Washington Nationals staff ace builds on his legend, Max Scherzer is one of the best pitchers in the game. Is he destined for Cooperstown?
One of a handful of pitchers to win Cy Young awards in both leagues where do his chances for the Hall of Fame stand?
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If something were to end his career now, Baseball Reference’s monitors and comparisons have him fall short. Scherzer has work to do if he wants his day in Cooperstown. Given he is a healthy 32, those numbers will rise over the next few years.
Let’s start with the basics. His traditional counting statistics are not there yet. In his 10th season, Scherzer has a 130-72 record with 3.37 ERA and 1970 strikeouts. Gaudy numbers and well on the way for enshrinement.
Throw in basic sabermetric numbers like his career WHIP of 1.137 and you get somewhere. That figure is fourth on the active list. Clayton Kershaw, Chris Sale and Madison Bumgarner have better figures. Kershaw is a lock for the Hall while the others are on Scherzer’s level.
When you add Wins Above Replacement into the mix—a tool future voters will use more—his 39.3 is ninth for active pitchers. Again, Kershaw is the lone pitcher above him with 10 years of experience and Felix Hernandez joins Kershaw as the two younger players with a higher number. On the career list at 175, he is wedged between Charlie Hough, Jon Matlack and Ed Reulbach.
Jack Chesbro has the lowest pitching WAR in the Hall at 41.2. Scherzer can pass it this year.
When voters look back at this era of baseball, Kershaw is far and away the most dominant pitcher of his time. Scherzer, with Bumgarner and Sale, all have cases as the number two. Assuming Scherzer posts solid numbers into his late 30s and signs turn excellent.
A healthy Scherzer will surpass 3000 strikeouts. He needs 1030 to do it. Topping 250 a season the last three years, the magic number could happen in 2022. If he gets 200 wins would get him in for sure, but he is five great years away from that.
Those Cy Young’s and four All-Star teams help, along with two top-15s in the MVP chase. His two seasons leading his league with a WHIP under 1.000 has value.
Scherzer gets into the hall with a normal career the rest of the way. Those accolades will pile up. The HOF monitors on Baseball Reference will improve and his legend grows each time he takes the hill.
A strong World Series would cement the casual fans case, but the voters will have a difficult case not putting Scherzer in when he is done.
That is a Curly W everyone will enjoy.