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Closing Time: Max Scherzer is up. Now what?

Andy Behrens
Roto Arcade

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In the seventh inning of today's White Sox-Orioles game, Chicago had the bases loaded, nobody out, and AJ Pierzynski at the plate. Broadcaster Hawk Harrelson made the following comment:

"You've got to be aggressive, yet selective."

As it turned out, selectivity without any aggression whatsoever would have been the better course. Pierzynski struck out by swinging at non-strikes.

So if you ever find yourself facing Greg Aquino with runners on, just be patient.

If, however, you find yourself with top waiver priority in a fantasy league, then you'll want to be both aggressive and selective. In those circumstances, Harrelson's advice is solid.

That brings us to 23-year-old Max Scherzer. He was called up by Arizona today. This is a big deal, because Scherzer is a highly-regarded prospect whose performance at Triple-A so far has exceeded the hype: 23.0 IP, 12 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 38 K. Fantasy owners are asking if he's worth a waiver claim. Check the comments attached to last night's Closing Time:

is Scherzer worth the #1 waiver slot if he gets the call-up? I am thinking of waiting for Kershaw

My advice? Don't wait. Get Scherzer. That's Brad's advice, too.

Follow Hawk's useful guidance: be aggressive, yet selective. Identify a short list of excellent prospects who aren't in the player pool (that's the selective part) and add the first one who gets called up (that's the aggression).

For now, Scherzer is expected to work out of the bullpen, and this fact will probably cause many of you to pass on him. Here's what his general manager told the team's website:

"In the long term, I think with any pitcher we would sort of give starting every opportunity to be successful," (Josh) Byrnes said. "(Scherzer) has responded. He's really done quite nicely. We've gotten him through the system in Double-A and in Triple-A and even in Spring Training. We're optimistic that he can be a quality Major League starter, and probably prefer that that's the focus at this point."

But Chad Qualls can't keep pitching every day, so it's the 'pen for the moment. Edgar Gonzalez can't feel too secure. Scherzer will pitch important innings for the Diamondbacks, and soon -- that much seems likely. Add him.

Three important caveats, however:

1) If you're sitting atop the waiver priority list in a dynasty league, that's a little different. I'd wait for Clayton Kershaw, unless you think you can win the league this year. Kershaw is a 20-year-old Dodgers left-hander who's pitched 25.2 innings at Double-A, allowing only four earned runs and striking out 31.

2) When managing waiver priority, you have to know your leaguemates. If your league is full of annoyingly predictable (expletive) bedwetters competitors who routinely drop slumping and/or injured stars, then Scherzer isn't such an obvious add.

3) In the past, concerns have been raised about Scherzer's high-stress delivery...

That's led many to think that he's not the best candidate to pitch 200 innings per year, and that instead his future is in the bullpen. At the very least, we know the bullpen is where Scherzer will be in the coming days. (The video is from '06, by the way).

OK, onto the other notes...

Manny Corpas? Nope, not good yet. He lost again, allowing two hits and walking three batters in 1.1 innings.

The under-owned Melky Cabrera homered off CC Sabathia today, accounting for the only run in an excellent Wang-Sabathia duel. Cabrera is now hitting .291 with five homers and three steals.

Uh-oh. John Smoltz complained of discomfort in his throwing shoulder after today's start -- and I was this close to dealing him for Carlos Guillen a few days ago, in a league where Guillen is unusually useful.

No, you should not jump all over Paul Maholm, despite the complete game. And yes, Nate McLouth is pretty awesome.

The largely-unowned John Lannan was great again. After Lannan threw seven scoreless innings against the Cubs, Manny Acta said, "I've seen him better." That's some hubris right there.

The 8.4 percent-owned Carlos Quentin had two more hits. He's batting .288 with five homers...basically the season we all expected last year, but without the hype.

Michael Young left today's blowout win with a calf issue:

Young went 3-for-4 before leaving the game after six innings to protect his sore right calf. It's been a problem since the Rangers left Toronto, and this was the third time in the last six games that he was pulled out of a game before it was completed.

Left-hander Jesse Carlson (who's been great: 12.2 IP, 2 BB, 15 K, 1.42 ERA) picked up a rogue save. Nothing obviously wrong with BJ Ryan, who pitched the eighth. This was more about game situation. This Rotowire note has it right.

Jorge Posada is DL-bound. He's still dealing with shoulder issues.

Troy Glaus and Scott Rolen hit their first homers of the year on the same day. That's sorta cute. Kyle McClellan picked up a three-inning save in a 5-1 Cardinals' win.

Brandon Lyon picked up his seventh save of the season. He's apparently not willing to give his job to Scherzer or anyone else just yet.

Dusty Baker went with the three ex-Cub alignment, starting Hairston, Patterson and Bako. You shouldn't use this exact strategy in fantasy leagues. Barry Zito was battered like a piñata again (3.0 IP, 7 H, 8 ER, 3 BB); Edinson Volquez was not (7.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 10 K).

Zito is still owned in 52 percent of Yahoo! leagues, which is preposterous. Sure, some of those are deadbeat owners, but not all of them.

Santiago Casilla still hasn't allowed a run. In 13.1 innings for the A's so far this season, Casilla has allowed only nine hits, two walks, and he's struck out 18.

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