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Max Scherzer Concerns

Should we be worried about D'Backs starter Max Scherzer?  Last year, he had a monthlong bout with shoulder inflammation.  Already this year his arm did not feel great when he started throwing, according to MLB.com's Steve GilbertNick Piecoro talked to Arizona GM Josh Byrnes, who said nothing's changed structurally with Scherzer in comparing his June and December MRIs. 

Byrnes isn't concerned (at least publicly) and projects 170 innings for Scherzer.  Much like Joba Chamberlain (more on him in a future post), Scherzer's fantasy value is tied to his very unpredictable innings total.

Scherzer is being drafted in the 16th round on average, so drafters respect the injury concerns.  Still, that's after a guy like Aaron Cook, who shouldn't have any mixed league value in 2009. 

Say Scherzer reaches that 170 IP mark.  I have him for a 3.83 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, and K/9 over 10.  He'd be worth $13.38, more than Edinson Volquez and about the same as Ricky Nolasco, Jered Weaver, Ted Lilly, and Zack Greinke.

Drop Scherzer to 140 IP, though, and he's down to $8.11 (about where I have Hiroki Kuroda and Johnny Cueto).  Here's the thing though.  Scherzer's not like Mark Buehrle, who is worth $7 because he can rack up some counting stats across 210 IP.  Scherzer, like Joba, burns bright.  If he's healthy he will probably pitch well, and if he's hurt he'll be on the DL.  If that's the case, you can sub in a tolerable 60 innings off the waiver wire and end up with good value overall.  The only risk is that he's moved to the bullpen.  For a 15th or 16th round pick, that's a risk worth taking.

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