Thursday, June 7, 2012

Maybe it’s Time to Put Scherzer in the Bullpen

One of the reasons Arizona was so willing to trade Scherzer was because they thought he would eventually wind up in the bullpen.  The Tigers virtually debunked that as Scherzer was able to pitch 195 innings in 2010 and 2011 with ERA’s of 3.50 and 4.43.  However, Scherzer hasn’t been particularly good in the rotation this year with a 5.88 ERA and a 1.59 WHIP (no matter how much his defensive independent stats show how unlucky he’s been).

Scherzer’s changeup has never been his best pitch, but this year it has been extremely bad:

2010 – (0.21)
2011 – (0.05)
2012 – (3.43)

Pitch f/x agrees:
2010 – (0.11)
2011 – 0.04
2012 – (3.46)

This is very important to a pitcher like Scherzer, because he uses his changeup to get left-handed pitchers out.  And left-handers are crushing Scherzer this year:

Vs. LHB – 166 PA, .349/.415/.575, 8 HR, 35 K, 17 BB
Vs. RHB – 126 PA, .235/.296/.400, 5 HR, 45 K, 7 BB

Vs. LHB – 464 PA, .281/.345/.496, 19 HR, 84 K, 41 BB
Vs. RHB – 369 PA, .262/.301/.405, 10 HR, 90 K, 15 BB

He wasn’t as effective against left-handers as right-handers in 2011 either, but was still able to get them out, unlike this year.  If Scherzer doesn’t have an effective changeup, then he’s virtually a 2-pitch pitcher with his fastball and slider, and it’s very hard for a pitcher to be an effective starting pitcher with just 2 pitches.

Another factor in why some pitchers can’t start is that they can’t go deep into game.  That’s something else that Scherzer is experiencing this year.

1st time through the batting order – 109 PA, .240/.324/.438, 5 HR, 33 K, 11 BB
2nd time through the batting order – 108 PA, .286/.346/.459, 4 HR, 33 K, 8 BB
3rd time through the batting order – 74 PA, .394/.438/.636, 4 HR, 14 K, 5 BB

Now most pitchers tire as they go deep into games and get less effective.  Scherzer experienced this last year, but not to the point where he’s almost useless after going through the order twice.

1st time through the order – 298 PA, .255/.313/.423, 10 HR, 69 K, 22 BB
2nd time through the order – 292 PA, .275/.312/.500, 12 HR, 59 K, 13 BB
3rd time through the order – 221 PA, .288/.356/.414, 5 HR, 43 K, 20 BB

Scherzer has changed as a pitcher.  He has gone from a middle of the rotation stuff to a reliever.  It might be time to put him in the role that he’s performing in.

1 comment:

  1. Great post. I agree 100%. If we fall 10 games out, we may see this and really give some of our young arms a shot.