- Full name Maxwell M. Scherzer
- Born 07/27/1984 in St. Louis, MO
- Profile Ht.: 6'3" / Wt.: 208 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School Missouri
- Debut 04/29/2008
Drafted in the 1st round (11th overall) by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2006 (signed for $3,000,000).
View Draft ReportExpected to be the first righthander selected in the 2006 draft, Scherzer has slipped a few notches this spring. He missed an early-season start after slamming a door on the middle finger of his pitching hand, and five more at midseason with biceps tendinitis. Since coming back from the tendinitis, he has only flashed the mid- to upper-90s velocity he showed throughout 2005 with Missouri and with Team USA during the summer. Scherzer has pitched more at 91-92 mph, often peaking at 95. While he has one of the best pure arms in the draft, he doesn't consistently have a second plus pitch. His slider is effective but usually rates as a 50 or 55 on the 20-80 scouting scale. He has added a wide-grip changeup and a two-seam fastball in the last year, and he's still refining his secondary pitches. While he has toned down his delivery in college, he still throws with more effort than Joba Chamberlain or Luke Hochevar. More than most of the top pitching prospects in this draft, Scherzer may be better suited as a closer than as a frontline starter. Add that to his abbreviated spring and his choice of advisers (Scott Boras), and Scherzer could slide into the middle of the first round.
Organization Prospect Rankings
The 11th overall pick in 2006, Scherzer pitched for the independent Fort Worth Cats and held out before he would have re-entered the draft pool. Though he projected as no more than a mid-first-rounder the second time around, Arizona gave him a $3 million bonus, $4.3 million in guaranteed money and another $1.5 million in easily reachable incentives. Scherzer's fastball can overmatch batters, arriving in the mid-90s with sinking action at its best. His slider also can be a plus pitch, though he's working on its command and plane. Some scouts who saw Scherzer as a starter at midseason wondered what the fuss was about. His fastball sat at 89-93 mph range, and his overall stuff, command, feel and delivery all drew questions. Then they saw him relieving in the Arizona Fall League and he was a different pitcher, touching 98 mph. Arizona's official opinion is that Scherzer is a starter. If he continues in the rotation, he'll likely open 2008 back in Double-A. If he moves to the bullpen, he could provide immediate help in the big leagues and has the pure stuff to eventually close games.
Minor League Top Prospects
The most dominant starter in the league, Scherzer struck out 29 and didn't allow an earned run over 17 innings in his first three outings. He was just as overpowering in his big league debut in late April, pitching 4 1/3 perfect innings while fanning seven Astros. Scherzer has tremendous arm strength, allowing him to fire 95-98 mph four-seam fastballs that jump out of his hand and bore in on righthanders. He also has a 92-93 mph two-seamer. His slider has some tilt but flattens out at times. His changeup has some sink and fade, though it probably will be average at best. Some scouts see Scherzer being more effective as a short reliever because of his violent delivery and inconsistent secondary pitches. He had success in both roles with the Diamondbacks.
Just before Scherzer would have re-entered the 2006 draft, the Diamondbacks coughed up a four-year major league contract worth $4.3 million in guaranteed money to sign the 11th overall pick from 2005. Nicknamed "Max-a-million" by his teammates, he made three starts in high Class A before arriving in Mobile in late June. Scherzer's most attractive attribute is a sinking fastball that tops out near 95 mph. His mechanics need some work, as his release point is inconsistent and there's some effort to his delivery, but he does achieve good extension out front and his arm strength is obvious. Scherzer has a two-seamer he can run up to 90 mph, an 80-84 mph slider and a changeup, all of which have potential to be solid-average to plus offerings. But Scherzer's arsenal is inconsistent, and his overall command is below average. That leads some scouts to project he'll wind up in the bullpen, where he can focus on his fastball and slider. "It's an outstanding arm who needs polish and has some max effort to it, which impacts his ability to command the baseball," a fourth scout said. "The stuff is there, it's just a matter of if he can make that next step and command it."
Top 100 Rankings
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Fastball in the American League in 2013
- Rated Best Pitcher in the American League in 2013
- Rated Best Fastball in the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2008