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Key Statistics: Aside from his wins (he still won 13 games everyone – the same as Matt Cain, Roy Oswalt and Clayton Kershaw and more than Cole Hamels, Josh Johnson and Wandy Rodriguez), King Felix was arguably the best pitcher in the majors last year, not to mention fantasy baseball. Let’s look at his numbers from the last three seasons, 2008-2010:

ERA: 3.45 – 2.49 – 2.27
IP: 200.2 – 238.2 – 249.2
SO: 175 – 217 – 232
WHIP: 1.38 – 1.13 – 1.06
H/9: 8.9 – 7.5 – 7.0
HR/9: 0.8 – 0.6 – 0.6
BB/9: 3.6 – 2.7 – 2.5
SO/9: 7.8 – 8.2 – 8.4

What’s not to like? He’s pitching more innings, striking out and simultaneously walking less batters and allowing less hits. I’m not sure how many more key statistics I can throw out there. The fact that he was as good on the road was he was at home in spacious Safeco Field? That he dominated righties as well as he did lefties? That he pitched better each month from May til August (ERAs in those months? 4.79, 2.36, 2.15, 0.82)? That he won the AL Cy Young despite his win total because his peripheral numbers were ridiculous? This guy is a bonafide keeper and one of the first two or three pitchers that should be gone in the first round. What else is there to knock?

Skeptics Say: Oh, that he plays on one of the worst teams in the majors, plain and simple. The Mariners were the worst team in the American League last season, and were only second to the Pittsburgh Pirates in losses. While Felix has trended upwards in almost every single type of statistical measurement, Felix has won 12, 14, 9, 19 and 13 in his first five full seasons. Last season he finished dead last in run support for all qualified pitchers. With a historically bad offense behind him that hasn’t made many changes since last season (Jack Cust isn’t your savior, Seattle), one really can’t hope for much better offensive support behind him for 2011.

Another question is, will all this losing take a toll on Felix? The guy is undoubtedly one of the best starters in the game, but hasn’t played a meaningful game in August or September for his entire career. Will it wear him down this year at all?

Peer Comparison: Aside from win total, the AL Cy Young winner and the NL Cy Young winner, Roy Halladay, had very similar seasons.

Look at their lines side-by-side:

Felix: 13-12, 2.27 ERA, 249.2 IP, 232 SO, 1.06 WHIP, 7.0 H/9, 0.6 HR/9, 2.5 BB/9, 8.4 K/9
Doc: 21-10, 2.44 ERA, 250.2 IP, 219 SO, 1.04 WHIP, 8.3 H/9, 0.9 HR/9, 1.1 BB/9, 7.9 SO/9

Verrrry similar pitchers here. Each bring a premium in wins, ERA, WHIP and Ks. While both men have a discrepancy in BB/9 and H/9, the difference in both offsets each other in WHIP. Their Ks are about normal and IP are different by about an inning. Obviously, like every other situation with Felix, it comes down to wins. Halladay plays for a team that regularly leads the league or is in the top 3 in run production. Felix, as I noted, plays for a team that is literally the polar opposite. The only thing that might be in Felix’s favor is age. Halladay is entering his age 34 season, while Felix his age 25 season. Both have shown they can handle the heavy workloads without it affecting their performance – but there is something to be said about youth, and it might be the only thing on Felix’s side. Even with the age factor and with everything else being equal, Halladay is the easy pick here for the first pitcher off the board. But make no mistake, Felix, for me, is unquestionably the second pitcher on the board.

Lineup Outlook: I’ve covered Seattle’s offense at length so far – they suck. But let’s look at the Seattle bullpen. Last year, Seattle finished 23 out of 30 clubs in bullpen ERA…and that was with David Aardsma closing. Aardsma had hip surgery in January and will miss the beginning of the season. Brandon League is penciled as closer right now, but with scrapheap reclamation projects like Manny Delcarmen and Chris Ray in front of him, the season might have gotten longer for King Felix.

What They’re Saying: Yahoo: #2 SP & #23 Overall; CBS Sportsline: #2 SP; Tristan Cockcroft of #10 Overall; John Halpin of Fox Sports: #28 Overall; RotoChamp: #8 Overall

Projection: I feel so bad for the King. As if a terrible offense behind him wasn’t enough, his bullpen might be worse than last year as well. Despite all these negatives, Felix’s peripherals are so strong, there’s still no question that he’s still a first or second rounder in any draft. I think Felix’s numbers take a slight dip this year, so he’ll be ridiculous…instead of insanely ridiculous.

11 wins, 2.40 ERA, 220 K, 1.08 WHIP

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2 Responses to Felix Hernandez Player Projection No. 16

  1. Brian@brianautismblog says:

    Great stats, I'm pretty sure I won't be getting him. I'll wait for Verlander in the 5th, get three solid ones. I don't know yet. In my league, we have a lot of Seattle people, so he'll probalby go in the 1st.

  2. Schruender says:

    That's about all Mariners fans have going for them this year, so yeah maybe they'll jump at that chance.

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