Who Would You Rather Have: Max Scherzer or Edwin Jackson

Early this offseason, the Diamondbacks,Yankees and Tigers completed a 3-team trade that resulted in the following: 

Yankees get Curtis Granderson

Tigers get Max Scherzer, Daniel Schlereth, Austin Jackson and Phil Coke

Diamondbacks get Edwin Jackson and Ian Kennedy

I am going to focus on the Max Scherzer and Edwin Jackson part of the deal as in the grand scheme of things, the DBacks dealt Scherzer for Jackson. Both are young starting pitchers, with Scherzer under team control for 5 more years while Jackson becomes a free agent in two years.

Here is what ESPN's Keith Law had to say about the deal from the Diamondbacks point of view:

I have no idea what Arizona's motivation for this deal would be. Even with my long-standing concerns over Scherzer's delivery and on-and-off shoulder problems, I would rather have five years of his services than two years of Jackson's, since Jackson, despite the hot 2009 start and All-Star appearance, remains a back-end pitcher with No. 1 starter stuff -- but No. 5 starter command. He will light up the gun -- I saw him hit 99 mph twice in the seventh inning of a start in September of 2008 -- and he looks the part of a dominating staff ace, but he doesn't miss anywhere near enough bats with the fastball, which is pretty straight and which he tries to throw up in the zone too often.

 

 

His 2009 first half was the anomaly, as his slider got worse as the season went on, and his second-half fade (.290/.356/.500 line for opponents, yielding a 5.07 ERA) was much more in line with his career norms. He's also a fly ball pitcher moving to a pretty good home run park, as is Ian Kennedy, a fringe fifth starter whose command is above average but has to be plus (or better) for his fringe-fastball/average-changeup combination to work in the big leagues. (I liked Kennedy coming into 2008, but overrated his command.) Giving up five years of Scherzer and six of Schlereth is too much given what's coming back, especially for a club that's in more of a building mode than in immediate contention.

Let's take a look at their 2009 stats after the jump:

Here are their 2009 stats per Fangraphs:

Name K/9 BB/9 K/BB HR/9 AVG WHIP BABIP LOB% ERA FIP E-F xFIP
Max Scherzer 9.19 3.33 2.76 1.06 0.257 1.34 0.323 68.70% 4.12 3.87 0.26 3.88
Edwin Jackson 6.77 2.94 2.3 1.14 0.249 1.26 0.281 76.70% 3.62 4.28 -0.67 4.39

Scherzer has a better K/9, K/BB xFIP and HR/9, while Jackson has the better BB/9, AVG, BABIP and ERA. Scherzer's LOB% is below MLB average as is his BABIP, so he could improve his ERA in 2010 by regressing to the league average in both categories.

Scherzer also moves to the better pitcher's park so his HR/9 could drop as well, while Jackson moves to the better hitter's park, so his HR/9 could increase. Jackson threw more innings than Scherzer in 2009, and has more experience than Scherzer having pitched in the majors since 2007.

So who would you rather have in your fantasy league? 

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