Unless you are one of the many, many owners that have already given up on Max Scherzer–he's owned in under 40 percent of ESPN leagues, and has seen a -10.6 percent drop rate in the past week–then you have to be encouraged by his first start since his demotion from the majors. I mentioned last week that Scherzer's demotion was a positive sign, because it meant something mechanical was off, rather than that he was injured as so many people had feared.
Against Durham, Scherzer threw 103 pitches (67 of them for strikes) and allowed just one hit and one walk while striking out 10 batters. The most positive aspect of the night though, was that Scherzer, who was averaging about 91-92 mph on his fastball this year at the major league level (a far cry from last year's nearly 94 mph average) hit 97 on the radar gun.
Also heartening is the fact that Scherzer seems to have identified further what was wrong with his mechanics. He was aware of the arm slot issue, but realized that he there was more to it than that:
"For me, it's a matter of shortening my arm action," he said. "I knew something was off. Nothing seemed right. I watched tape, watched tape, watched tape, and finally saw the image of my arm lengthening out.
"You could tell by the way hitters were swinging at my pitches. Last year my elevated fastball had enough life on it that I could get swings and misses. This year I haven't been quite able to do that."
It's just one start, but given his velocity and command were back to where we expected them to be, you have to think Scherzer's stay in the minors will be a short one—especially with the Tigers right back in the race for the American League Central. If you held on to Scherzer, good on you—if not, you may want to scoop him back up before everyone else realizes that the potential fantasy monster is back.