A candidate for his third straight National League Cy Young, it’s time to accept that Washington Nationals starter Max Scherzer a is a future Hall of Famer
Washingtons Nationals fans have run out of ways to describe just how good Max Scherzer is, four years into a seven-year deal. But here’s a new one we really should start using a lot more. Future Hall of Famer.
Despite his ridiculously lofty standards, he’s coming off arguably his best season ever in 2018. He finished the year at 18-7 with a 2.53 ERA, 0.911 WHIP, oh, and just the small matter of recording 300 strikeouts.
Even when you dig into his WAR, he recorded his best bWAR season with 8.8 and the same for his fWAR at a 7.2 figure. While he may not quite get that third NL Cy Young in a row, thanks to Jacob deGrom and his unreal year, that doesn’t stop Scherzer already being Hall of Fame worthy.
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Let’s start off with those precious Cy Young Awards, as Max Scherzer’s trophy cabinet already contains three of them in total. There are only eight other players in the history of baseball who have won three or more:
- Roger Clemens x 7
- Randy Johnson x 5 (HoF)
- Steve Carlton x 4 (HoF)
- Greg Maddux x 4 (HoF)
- Sandy Koufax x 3 (HoF)
- Tom Seaver x 3 (HoF)
- Jim Palmer x 3 (HoF)
- Pedro Martinez x 3 (HoF)
- Clayton Kershaw x 3
Notice a theme developing? Having that much dominance in your career usually leads to Cooperstown. The only exceptions are Clemens, who is struggling to get voted in after PED controversy, and Kershaw who is still active and is widely considered a Cooperstown lock.
Scherzer’s career actually isn’t too dissimilar from Koufax who was a first ballot Hall of Famer when he got 86.9% of the vote in 1972. They both had solid starts to their career before peaking in the second half of their career and becoming the best pitcher in the game.
In the last six years of Koufax’s career, he took off, becoming an All-Star every season, winning three Cy Youngs and even an MVP. In the last six years of Scherzer’s career, he’s matched the All-Star appearances and Cy Youngs, while appearing in the top five for that award every time, and he should again this year once the results are released.
Just look at the stat comparison of those six years:
- Koufax: 1632.2 IP, 129-47, 2.19 ERA, 1713 Ks, 156 ERA+, 2.16 FIP, 46.5 bWAR
- Scherzer: 1313 IP, 107-40, 2.81 ERA, 1620 Ks, 148 ERA+, 2.86 FIP, 41.2 bWAR
Yes, Koufax has the edge over Scherzer, but remember, we’re talking about someone who was an absolute slam dunk first ballot HoFer. The Nats right-hander may not make it in on the first ballot, but it would be stunning if he didn’t make it in given the stretch of dominance he’s had.
Some people will try and argue that he needs to have at least a few more seasons, even if they’re only average ones. But this is the Hall of Fame, why should more average seasons make any difference, other than to simply get some of the counting stats up? It really shouldn’t.
The Hall of Fame should be all about how good they were at their peak, and being at that peak for an extended period of time. Max Scherzer has already proven this with these last six years being at the very top of the game. It’s time to stop the debate, he’s got the resume, and in all likelihood will be the first to go into Cooperstown with a Curly W on his cap.
Fans of the Washington Nationals probably already know that Max Scherzer pretty much has his Hall of Fame spot locked down, now it’s time for the rest of the league to appreciate him that way.