Felix Hernandez – 2007 Upper Deck

February 6, 2011


The King & His Court: Redux?

While I often quote a pitchers W-L record, more often than not it can be deceiving.

When Nolan Ryan, at age 40, went 8-16, just looking at that made him looked washed up. Never mind the 5.5 WAR, the league leading ERA, or the fact that his team scored 3.3 runs per game when he started. He was 8-16, thus he’s no good.

Then there’s Steve Blass in 1969, who went 16-10 with an ERA+ of 78 and a WAR of -1.2. Or Charles Nagy, who went 15-10 in 1998 with an ERA well over 5.

But you, the sophisticated connoisseur of baseball stats, knew that.

So you know how I pity poor poor Felix Hernandez.

Again, I pick on Larry’s Mariners, but you know, the naked truth hurts.

Felix went 13-12 for the Mariners last year. A 13-12 record on most major league teams would mean a meh season. But Felix had a 2.27 ERA, an ERA+ of 174 and a WAR of 6.0.

It was a better season than his 19-5, 2.49 mark in 2009, which is as amazing to write as it is to contemplate.

No doubt his pedestrian record was greatly helped by a team that had only three batters on its entire roster that had an OPS+ of 100 or more. And two of them (Branyan and Sweeney) weren’t there for the entire year. Ichiro, of course, was the one with an OPS+ of over 100 but even then he had a mediocre year for Ichiro (113).

The off-season thus far has been a dud for their offense. They shed, via free agency or trades: Bard, Woodward, Branyan, Langerhans, Quiroz, Kotchman, Nelson, Lopez, Rob Johnson, and Hulett. They signed: Kazmar, Luis Rodriguez, Cust, Ryan, Langerhans (hey, wait…), Gimenez, Olivo, Bard (hey, wait…), Kennedy, Gerut and Gross.


So what’s a guy like Hernandez to do? Or for that matter Jason Fargas or Doug Fister or David Pauley?

Well, propose a three-true outcome game. A batter, a pitcher, and either a walk, strikeout or home run.

I bet the Mariners could clean up on that – as long as they can bat Jack Cust as often as possible!


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