MLB Playoffs 2017: Choosing an MVP for every team
Washington Nationals: Max Scherzer
If Max Scherzer is healthy, he will always be at the top of the list when discussing an MVP candidate, for a specific team or for the entire league. This season, however, Scherzer had some competition within his own rotation. Gio Gonzalez and Stephen Strasburg each had very impressive seasons.
The 31-year-old Gonzalez tossed the second most innings of his career in 2017 (201) and compiled the second lowest ERA of his career (2.96). Gonzalez was durable as always, logging 30 or more starts for the seventh time in his career. In addition to that, Gonzalez recorded an ERA+ of 149 in 2017, the highest mark of his career.
Strasburg, 28, was equally impressive this season. In 28 starts, Strasburg notched 15 wins and recorded an ERA of 2.52. Along with that, Strasburg struck out 204 batters in 175 1/3 innings pitched.
Despite solid performances by Gonzalez and Strasburg, Max Scherzer tops them both. Now 32, Scherzer made 31 starts in 2017, posting a 16-6 record and a 2.51 ERA. With 200 2/3 innings pitched this season, Scherzer logged his fifth straight season of 200 or more innings pitched. In those 200 innings, Scherzer struck out 268 batters, equating to an average of 12 per game.
Scherzer also led the Nationals with a 7.2 WAR.
Following an early exit in his last start, Scherzer’s availability for the postseason seems to be up in the air. It seems that Scherzer suffered some sort of hamstring injury that could keep him from starting Game 1 of the NLDS against the Cubs.
The Nationals hope they can get Scherzer healthy in time for the playoffs. In his career, Scherzer has made 12 postseason starts and appeared in 14 postseason games. He is 4-4 in those games with a 3.74 ERA in 74 2/3 innings pitched.
It’s important to note the offensive players that had solid campaigns in 2017. Anthony Rendon, Daniel Murphy, Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman all logged batting averages over .300 and OBP’s north of .350. Zimmerman clubbed 36 home runs while Harper hit 29 and Rendon and Murphy hit 25 and 23 respectively.