When I set out to write this, my opinion of Scherzer was "good middle of the rotation starter, but I hope he didn't just have a career year in 2012."
A wee bit of research shows I am wrong (what's new there, wifie tells me I'm wrong daily.) Last season statistically was reflective of his 5 year career.
His ERA was 3.74, while his career total is only 3.88. He won a career-high 16 games, no doubt aided by the lusty hitting support he received.
It just seemed to me he was far more dominant last year than ever before.
Maybe some of you Sabrematricians can help me here. His WAR (Wins Above Replacement) jumped to 4 last year, compared to 1.1 in 2011.
(WAR for pitchers is defined at baseball-reference.com as "A single number that the player added to the team above what a replacement player (think AAA or AAAA would add.) This value includes defensive support and and includes additional value for high leverage situations. Scale: 8+ MVP quality; 5+ All Star quality, 2+ Starter, 0-2 Reserve, 0 Replacement level.")
Perhaps my impression comes from the fact that 2012 wasn't so much of a career year, but 2011 was a bit of an off-year for Maxie. His ERA in 2011 jumped up to 4.43, the highest in his career. I believe he changed his wind-up that off-season to lifting his hands over his head. Whatever it takes, Max.
I still don't understand how he had a better ERA in 2010 (3.5) but only got a 3.1 WAR. Maybe this is proof that at some point, statistics just break down.
Fact is, Scherzer is a good, solid pitcher, and when he throws his glove out there, we fans feel reasonably comfortable we'll be in the game.
Maybe best of all, he's only 27, the age when most pitchers are reaching their prime.