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How Max Scherzer overtook Clayton Kershaw and Justin Verlander as 'pitcher of the decade'

How Max Scherzer overtook Clayton Kershaw and Justin Verlander as 'pitcher of the decade'

Whether you want to admit it or not, at some point as a sports fan you've spent an exorbitant amount of time arguing about where a player ranks, and "best pitcher in baseball" has without a doubt been one of the most heated of these conversations. 

Max Scherzer, Clayton Kershaw, and Justin Verlander are the names you tend to see thrown around the most, and many feel a strong finish over the last few years has catapulted Scherzer to the top. 

"All decade long, it felt like Clayton Kershaw was the pitcher of the decade, and Justin Verlander, but I think if you add up all the numbers and look at how dominant Scherzer was, that he probably stole that crown at the very end," New York Times National Baseball writer Tyler Kepner said on the Nationals Talk podcast

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Okay, so let's nerd out and take a look at those very numbers. It's an adventure we'll take together, so hold on.

We'll start with regular season only. Entire decade totals first, then just from 2015 to 2019, Scherzer's time in Washington:

ERA

Kershaw (2.31/2.38)

Verlander (3.10/2.94)

Scherzer (3.12/2.74)

Strikeouts

Scherzer (2,452/1,371)

Verlander (2,260/1,176)

Kershaw (2,179, 1,019)

Wins

Scherzer (161/79)

Verlander (160/73)

Kershaw (156/71)

WHIP

Kershaw (.962/.929)

Scherzer (1.068/.942)

Verlander (1.077/.983)

Okay, that's a lot, I get it. Your head hurts. So does mine. There are tons more stats we can use but let's stick to those four so no one passes out. 

Over the last decade of regular season games, Kershaw takes the top spot in ERA and WHIP, with Scherzer in strikeouts and wins. From just 2015 to 2019 as a National, Scherzer is on top of the same categories. So nothing changes the ranks there. 

Now let's look at postseason only (hide your eyes Clayton):

ERA

Verlander (3.09/2.92)

Scherzer (3.38/2.92)

Kershaw (4.28/4.11)

Strikeouts

Verlander (182/93)

Kershaw (159/112)

Scherzer (137/57)

Wins

Verlander (13/7)

Kershaw (9/8)

Scherzer (7/3)

WHIP

Verlander (.988/1.041)

Kershaw (1.056/1.043)

Scherzer (1.134/1.135)

Yes I know, win totals are misleading because that pitcher's team has to first make the postseason for them to even add to those stats, and a pitcher only accounts for one start every few days, and maybe some relief here or there. Also, the whole total strikeout thing can be misleading too depending on who played more games. I did that for consistency. There's more, don't worry. 

Based on win percentage in the postseason, Verlander sits at the top over the last decade (.591) while Kershaw comes in dead last with just nine wins to his ten losses. Since 2015, Scherzer's .600 win percentage is the best.

What about strikeouts per nine innings? Okay. Scherzer wins that both for the entire decade and over the last five seasons.

What's all this tell us? Scherzer was clearly pitching his best as a National. All three have been fantastic during the regular season, while Verlander and Scherzer are the superior hurlers during the postseason. 

Kershaw has been horrible during that time of year, and Nats fans saw that first hand. So let's take Kershaw out of the equation.

We're down to Verlander or Scherzer. 

Both have won a World Series, but Verlander's team cheated, so we throw that out. Scherzer has three Cy Youngs to Verlander's two, but Verlander did win the AL MVP Award back in 2011. 

Scherzer has a better regular season and postseason win percentage since he became a National, more strikeouts per nine innings in the regular season and postseason, and a lower ERA in both the regular and postseason as well over that time. 

Oh, the only category of these Verlander tops Scherzer in for the entire decade of regular season games is ERA (3.10 to 3.12) by the way. 

Wrap all that up in a bow...and Scherzer clearly wins "best pitcher of the decade".

That's science. Disagree? 

Well, that's what Twitter is for. 

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Max Scherzer purchases new waterfront mansion in Jupiter for $9.8M, per report

Max Scherzer purchases new waterfront mansion in Jupiter for $9.8M, per report

Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer has purchased a waterfront mansion in Jupiter, Fla., according to real estate site The Real Deal. The 7,778-square foot property sold for $9.8 million, per the report. It was previously owned by real estate investor Justin Daniels and wife Robin Daniels.

The mansion, built in 2018, has five bedrooms, seven-and-a-half bathrooms, a four-car garage, and over 120 feet of water frontage.

Judging off pictures of the property posted to Twitter by Action Network's Darren Rovell, Scherzer has found quite the getaway.

The inside features a chef's kitchen with dual wall ovens, while the outside has a resort-style pool and 70-foot boat slip. More photos can be seen here.

RELATED ARTICLE: MAX SCHERZER AMONG MLB PLAYERS WHO HELD SECRET FLORIDA PRACTICES, PER REPORT

In 2015, Scherzer signed a seven-year, $210 million deal with the Nationals that runs through the 2021 season. The three-time Cy Young winner turns 36 on July 26, just days after the expected start of the season.

According to The Athletic, Scherzer was part of a group of more than 30 MLB players practicing in Palm Beach in June. It seems baseball wasn't the only business he was taking care of Florida.

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MLB’s first round of coronavirus testing shows low positivity rate

MLB’s first round of coronavirus testing shows low positivity rate

An enormous question hovered over the first day of workouts across Major League Baseball on Friday: who would test positive for coronavirus?

The league and MLBPA jointly released the first round of testing results late Friday. They are encouraging. But also just one step.

Only 38 individuals -- 31 players and seven staff members -- tested positive out of 3,185 samples collected and tested. That’s a 1.2 percent positivity rate, well below the recently surging national average of 7.4 percent, according to John Hopkins University.

No one on the Nationals has tested positive yet, according to Davey Martinez. Across the league, 19 of the 30 teams had an individual test positive in the first round of results.

Three players in the Nationals’ original 60-man player pool have opted not to play this season. Ryan Zimmerman and Joe Ross decided earlier in the week to sit out. Veteran catcher Welington Castillo chose later in the week to stay in the Dominican Republic instead of play.

RELATED: WELINGTON CASTILLO OPTS OUT OF 2020 MLB SEASON

“I didn’t talk to Welington,” Mike Rizzo said Friday. “He spoke to Davey and one of our assistant GMs. But I had a long conversation with Zim. Those are tough decisions, kind of courageous decisions in my mind. The easy path is to try to grind it out and take your chances. But these two guys, Joe and Zim, felt it wasn’t worth the risk. We support both of them. These decisions were tough for them. We certainly didn’t try to talk them out of it, by any way, shape or form. We supported them greatly and admire them for it, because these were tough decisions.”

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The tests, results and reactions will be a daily chore for the league from now until the postseason -- if there is one -- concludes. And, a much more complicated scenario begins with the season on July 23. The league is attempting a travel plan no other sport has remotely considered. But, the first-day returns are positive thanks to the amount of those testing negative.

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