Hernandez roughed up

JMB · March 9, 2005 at 3:33 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

King Felix, starting in place of Joel Pineiro today, allowed four runs in one inning of work. Call me crazy — you’re crazy! — but I think this is a relatively good thing. I’d rather he not be so good this spring that he forces the team’s hand and starts the season in the majors.

Update! He also walked the first three hitters he faced in the second inning before getting yanked.

Update, part two! Here’s a pic of his new haircut. Again, thanks to Jon Wells of the Grand Salami.


33 Responses to “Hernandez roughed up”

  1. Mike on March 9th, 2005 3:51 pm

    I was there for the game, his stuff looked great. His command however, still needs work. It’s clear he is a 19 year old kid pitching out there, and is probably going to need some time at Tacoma. Nageotte looked great in the 7th though.

  2. Christopher Michael on March 9th, 2005 3:53 pm

    I’m all for him pitching in AAA for as much of this season as he allows. I’d like to see him bounce back in his next outing though. Will show some maturity.

    I seem to recall reading one of the articles where he beaned a guy after hitting a HR off of him in the minors last year. Lack of maturity there but some attitude is nice for a change.

  3. TGF on March 9th, 2005 3:56 pm

    I agree completely. Any bad outings that do not result from injury that make the organization think more minor league time is warranted are good in my opinion. If for no other reason than not starting his service time clock in a year the Ms probably won’t compete for the division title.

  4. Phil on March 9th, 2005 4:01 pm

    I agree completely. Being 19 and being in the majors is pretty heavy. I say leave him at AAA for most of the year with a possible September call-up. We don’t want to have another Rick Ankiel on our hands: great stuff, but the majors get into your head and then you can’t throw strikes. What a waste that would be of King Felix’s talent. But then again, if he does lose his cool, maybe he could switch to being an outfielder. 😉

  5. Shoeless Jose on March 9th, 2005 4:01 pm

    Not to mention it’s a good thing in another way: it will stop some of the piling on to the bandwagon that’s been happening here and elsewhere — it was starting to look like some people had drunk so much of the King Felix kool-aid that they were expecting, no, demanding that he start the year at Safeco as the de facto team ace. The rotation may indeed be that bad, but he’s not yet that good, or as today shows, that ready.

  6. Another Jeff on March 9th, 2005 4:07 pm

    Sure he may have been roughed up a little, but did his hat stay on?

  7. BKL on March 9th, 2005 4:09 pm

    I’ve never been a fan of the “Service Time” reasoning for not bringing up someone that is ready. Now that’s not to say Felix is ready or isn’t, but using the excuse of not wanting to start his service time because its not a year many expect the M’s to compete in is bad reasoning. Waiting for next year is never a good option as there are way too many variables to deal with to say that the M’s will be more competitive for a title next year than this year.

    For example.. Pineiro could blow out his shoulder… both Moyer and Franklin will be off the books. Who knows how well Madritsch will pitch, not to mention Meche. For all you know waiting till next year could mean having to go out and find a whole new Starting rotation. Sure that’s likely a bit of an exaggeration, but with the delicate issues of Pitchers in regards to injury, using the wait til next year approach in regards to giving Felix his shot is a bad way to go about it.

    Now if you think he’s too young, not mature enough, not ready, or not good enough yet, that’s a whole different ball game…. but if you don’t want him up just because you don’t want to start service time in a year the M’s “might not” have a shot at a championship.. I just don’t get that kind of rationalization.

    In fact I could say it could be better long term to start him now… that way if he stays relatively healthy and performs to expectations you can lock him up to a top notch contract before he gets close to the age of decline so there is a bit less risk involved.

  8. Christopher Michael on March 9th, 2005 4:17 pm

    #7 I agree. I’d much rather end up being forced to pay a young star pitcher 10+ million a year at 26 than at 30.

  9. David J Corcoran on March 9th, 2005 4:23 pm

    I assume you mean 30 rather than 26, right?

  10. Evan on March 9th, 2005 4:38 pm

    No, I think he means 26.

    And I think he’s crazy. The trick is not to be the one paying him when he costs $10 million. Delaying that until you don’t want him anymore is a good thing.

    His hat came off once.

  11. Aaron on March 9th, 2005 4:48 pm

    That argument assumes you can always retain your own free agents.

    Don’t you think the Dodgers would gladly trade Beltre’s 1998 season for his 2005 season? They started the clock, so he became a FA a year early. Of course we don’t know how well he’ll hit, but it’s a pretty good bet it’ll be better than .215/.278/.369.

    Jumping from AA to the bigs with barely 200 professional innings under his belt, during a year when the team probably won’t content anyway just ends up trading his age 19 season for his age 25 season.

    Plus, the M’s have declared thier desire to limit him to 180 innings all year, including spring training, so he’d likely spend a good portion of the year in the bullpen. When it comes to long-term decisions, you almost ALWAYS take the dominant starter over the rookie reliever.

    Now, if July rolls around, and the team is one dominant starter away from taking over the division, Felix has nothing left to prove in AAA, and/or a trade won’t work out for whatever reason, he’s there to help.

    Otherwise, let the kid take baby steps.

  12. Kelly M on March 9th, 2005 5:07 pm

    I agree that the “service time” argument is weak if it used in isolation. No one knows what will happen this season. That said, we do know a few things for sure:
    (1) Felix Hernandez is clearly a great 18-year-old prospect.
    (2) Baseball history is littered with stories of great 18-year-old prospects.

    Therefore, every precaution should be taken to give Felix every chance at turning into the next Johan Santana. BTW, Santana is 26, so Felix has 8 years of pitching to match Santana.

    We also know that (3) the 2005 version of the Ms are unlikely to contend for the AL Pennant. It might happen, but everything has to break exactly right: Boone, Moyer, and Sexson would have to turn back the clock for starters.

    Given this, I hope the Mariners decouple the question of what to do with Hernandez THIS year from how to make the 05 club decent, and focus on what the Ms will look like over the next 5 years. I would be really happy if the Ms spent 05 thinking about building a club that could truly contend for the 06, 07, and 08 pennants. In those years we’ll have a rotation that might easily feature Hernandez, Pinero, Madritsch, Meche, and Soriano. (Even here there are massive questions.) Also, our core hitters in 06 will be Ichiro, Reed, and Beltre. Sexson and Olivo have decent shots to be league average at their positions, which I would take. That means we need to continue our eternal quest for a power hitting LF, and get a 2B and a SS. (If someone wants to make the argument that Jose Lopez could turn out to be league average at either 2B or SS, I would be glad to hear it.)

    Given all of this, I do think that bringing Hernandez around slowly and not expecting a single pitch from him in the majors is reasonable if not preferrable. It is highly likely having him pitch in Seattle this year will do nothing to advance our goal of winning a WS in the next 5 years. (Of course, given the track record of the Mariner’s minor league pitchers blowing up shoulders and elbows, maybe he SHOULD be with the club if to simply avoid the gremlin that tears up labrums and tendons.)

    With Felix on the shelf in Tacoma, where he could be on tight pitch counts and simply turn 19, the Ms could focus on how to use Boone, Guardado, Winn, and Ibanez as parts to be traded in prep for 06, 07, and 08.

    (If I sound like I’m writing off this season, I guess I am. Anything could happen this year, but hope is not a plan, and this club can only hope to win the AL West. And, frankly, I’m just really ready for the Ms to make the World Series. I want to see bunting hanging at Safeco. Any move that merely makes the Ms “contenders” for the AL West is, in my opinion, wasted.

  13. David J Corcoran on March 9th, 2005 5:10 pm

    Re Lopez:
    He’s 21. Anything can happen.

    End of argument.

  14. John on March 9th, 2005 5:45 pm

    Since we are on the topic of a young ace, has there been any research about what type of deliveries most frequently lead to injury? I read a while back about King Felix’s “explosive arm whip” and my heart sank. I’ve heard comments about a pitcher’s “bad mechanics”, but don’t quite understand what that means. Without a clear definition that phrase seems about as helpful as saying a player has a “good butt.” If we can identify deliveries that put pitchers at a higher risk of injury, why can’t we draft to avoid them? Or even try to fix their delivery? In a system besot with pitcher injuries, you’d think someone would start looking into this.

  15. Sergey on March 9th, 2005 5:48 pm

    1. Rafael Chaves, Pitching Coach of Tacoma Rainier, is great coach. It behooves Felix to be under his tutelage.
    2. Richie Sexon’s error accounted for 2 of the 4 run in the first.
    3. It is entirely possible that Felix bought in to all the hype and was overconfident.

  16. Shoeless Jose on March 9th, 2005 6:46 pm

    In the radio broadcast they also mentioned Felix’s father was in the stands. You may remember the bad outing Madritsch had in Chicago last year when his family was in the crowd. It’s easy enough to lose it on the big stage as it is, but with the added pressure…

  17. Jon Wells on March 9th, 2005 7:42 pm

    Yes, Felix’s hat stayed on cause he got a haircut. Didn’t fall off once. But he didn’t pitch as well…Two of the runs he allowed were because of a ridiculous error by Sexson on a slow rolling ball (Sexson made a second error on a similar ball in the third inning) The hits Felix allowed in the first were all hard hit line drives, the first of which came back up the middle and just barely missed hitting him in the head.

  18. scott on March 9th, 2005 8:10 pm

    I agree with Jason. Baseball can be very humbling and it is good that kid learned that regardless he is a top prospect or not, mlb players are no AA hitter he faced in the past. Good stuff or not, you still need to “earn” your job at MLB level. Selfishly, I want to see him in AAA at the one dollar beer night. lol.

  19. Jon Wells on March 9th, 2005 8:57 pm

    OT: So Brian Hunter came into today’s game as a late inning sub for KC and Nieahus said “this guy can really fly”…and “he’s one of the nicest guys in the game”…”I thought he was out of baseball…” Too bad you’re not down here, Dave.

  20. chris w on March 9th, 2005 9:17 pm

    Holy crap. He’s a big boy – especially considering he’s only 19. Is conditioning an issue with him?

  21. JMB on March 9th, 2005 9:24 pm

    Hey chris w,

    According to Dave, other than the normal young pitcher injury concerns, conditioning is about the only worry with Hernandez. He is indeed a big boy — I see Bartolo Colon or Livan Hernandez waiting to happen.


  22. Jeff Sullivan on March 9th, 2005 10:23 pm

    The word “thick” comes to mind.

  23. Chickenhawk on March 9th, 2005 10:37 pm

    Man, Felix is certainly the least of our worries. The rest of our staff is stinking up the desert. Aside from Campillo, that is.
    I know these starts don’t really mean anything, but I am getting a tad nervous.

  24. Chickenhawk on March 9th, 2005 10:55 pm

    Wow!, good article by McGrath today, comparing Felix and Todd Van Poppel – well, not really comparing, rather, using the Van Poppel story as a cautionary tale.
    The idea is, Felix may never become what he is projected to be.
    As a lifelong Mariners fan, I really really really hope he is the next great Hall of Fame pitcher…
    but, he may suck.

  25. Joshua on March 10th, 2005 12:22 am

    Dayn Perry Says Felix looks like Gooden, Pedro


    1. Felix Hernandez, RHP, Mariners, Age: 18
    It’s been a long, long time since we’ve seen a pitching prospect like Felix Hernandez. Armed with arguably the best fastball and curveball in the minors, Hernandez has met with astounding success for a pitcher who’s yet to turn 19 years of age. He blew away the low minors and has had success as high as Double-A —as an 18-year-old. The only debate is whether scouts or statheads think more of him. When thinking semi-recent young pitchers with similar promise, Dwight Gooden and Pedro Martinez, and then the comparisons wither. Only injuries can stop him. Expect great, great things from King Felix.

  26. Bill Fugazi on March 10th, 2005 9:24 am

    #25, my shiny new BP makes several comparisons to Gooden as well.

  27. IgnatiusReilly on March 10th, 2005 10:22 am

    John Sickels is leading a discussion on Felix, the rate at which Mariner pitchers go down, and whether this should lead to any worry.

    Check it out – I expect to see some Dave Cameron contributing, even if there are some jerk-face idiots over there.


  28. Dave on March 10th, 2005 11:14 am

    John’s a nice guy, but unfortunately, his blog has become the haven of kids and roto players who believe ranking prospects by BB-K ratio as the gospel of prospect evaluation. I don’t expect to be posting over there very often, if at all.

  29. IgnatiusReilly on March 10th, 2005 11:25 am

    Yeah…I noticed one guy had some, um, issues.

    In any case, hopefully some other Mariner fans can head over and contribute. I like to lend support to all-things non-corporate, so Sickels has my backing since being cast aside by ESPN.

    By the way – I sent you guys a suggestion awhile back seeing if ya’ll would be interested in having a roundtable on the very topic…maybe put the topic to rest once and for all (Mariner’s pitchers attrition rates that is). Has the topic been done to death now, is it something that just can never be quantified, or ???

  30. Christopher Michael on March 10th, 2005 11:50 am

    #10 Its not crazy at all. At 26 with a good arm I’m all for paying a pitcher who is worth that much. At 30 and up it gets more dicey.

    As for all the young prospects that have fizzled I’m just happy to be able to be this optimistic about a guy in our farm system.

  31. Oscar Gamble's Afro on March 10th, 2005 3:45 pm

    I think his hair was WAY cooler before. It was kind of a mongrel hybrid of Pedro Martinez and Thriller-era Jacko. Now he just looks like Bartolo Colon…

  32. John D. on March 10th, 2005 7:12 pm

    Re (# 19) BRIAN HUNTER: : After the Tigers cut him, the news story mentioned that he had the lowest OBP of MLB’s lead-off hitters, and that he’d once gone 0-10 in a double-header. “Sounds like a future Mariner to me,” I thought. Soon, the Ms traded for him.
    Take a look at this guy’s record, and think of all those guys that don’t (or didn’t) have an MLB job because such guys as Brian are cluttering rosters. http://tinyurl.com/6e6c5

  33. Steve Thornton on March 11th, 2005 10:47 am

    Well, all I can say is, Randy Johnson never had a bad outing before. Clemens, Gooden or Pedro neither. At 18. In spring training.