Statistical Breakdown of the King

Dave · August 16, 2005 at 6:26 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Lately, there has been an outbreak of “rationalism” in regards to our talk of Felix Hernandez. The responses go something like “sure, he’s good, but it was the Tigers, Twins, and Royals, all of the games in extremely pitcher friendly parks”, which is all true. But there is a thin line between rationalism and skepticism, and at this point, there’s no reason to be skeptical of King Felix. Below are his numbers through his 3 starts and where they would rank in the American League if he qualified for the ERA title:

ERA: 0.86 (1st)
Fielding Independant ERA: 1.66 (1st)
Line Drive Percentage: 9.6 % (1st)
G/F rate: 4.11 (1st)
Infield Fly Rate: 22 % (1st)
K/G: 10.6 (1st)
BB/G: 1.5 (5th)
HR/G: 0.0 (1st)
K/BB: 7.00 (2nd)
WHIP: 0.67 (1st)
Opponents BA: .153 (1st)
Opponents OBP: .191 (1st)
Opponnents SLG: .153 (1st)

The average hitter Felix has faced so far has a season line of .269/.327/.406. Against Felix, they are hitting .153/.191/.153. He has cut the opponents hitters OPS by 53 percent over what they are against the rest of the league. For comparison, Roger Clemens average opponent has a season line of .256/.325/.405, and are hitting .188/.245/.255. Clemens has cut opponents OPS lines by 32 percent. Even adjusting for opponents, Felix has been dominant on a level that no other pitcher in baseball, even Roger Clemens, has matched.

Other random ridiculous Felix notes:

He has yet to allow an extra base hit. I have yet to see a ball hit that I even think had a chance to go for more than a single.

He’s thrown 8 innings in less than 100 pitches in back-to-back starts.

Through the first five innings of each start, his groundball/flyball mark stands at 27 to 3.

Yes, its 3 starts. It is only 21 innings. It’s a small sample size. He can’t pitch like this all year. Let’s see what he does on the road against a good offense. Yada yada yada.

For three starts, Felix has been the best pitcher in baseball. His next start comes Saturday night in Minnesota. Make a date to watch brilliance in action once again.


78 Responses to “Statistical Breakdown of the King”

  1. Jim on August 16th, 2005 11:05 am

    I looked at game logs from MiLB for Felix and got this (starts only)…

  2. Revenant Edgar on August 16th, 2005 11:06 am

    Stop using that name….grrrrr….

  3. urban shocker on August 16th, 2005 11:13 am

    How many innings does he need to be limited to to retain his rookie status? This question also relates to his future free agent status.

  4. Mike Snow on August 16th, 2005 11:47 am

    Rookie status is used up once he reaches 50 IP, so he won’t be eligible next year unless they take him out of the rotation. Free agency is based on six full years of service time, so this year won’t matter unless he has another partial year, and it’s not like they’re going to send him back to the minors after spring training next year.

  5. JMB on August 16th, 2005 11:54 am

    50 innings, or a number of days on the roster I can’t recall.


  6. Tim Kelly on August 16th, 2005 12:27 pm

    I think its 65 days

  7. JoeM on August 16th, 2005 12:48 pm

    Okay so I went to both of Felix’s home games and am duly impressed beyond words. One thing: last night he lost a little zip and location of his fastball after cooling down during the bottom of the 5th, but he did what a good pitcher needs to, went to his other pitches for the outs. All of a sudden he’s throwing 2-3 changeups in a row and getting the outs cause his fastball started riding high in the zone. That’s the approach of someone who is confident in more than 1 pitch and can pitch his way out of a jam. One question for the baseball gods here: Felix at one point had I believe 18 scoreless innings pitched in a row between his starts. Any ideas when the last Mariners pitcher to do that was? Johnson? Sele? Moyer? Bosio? Garcia? I can’t remember back to back to back dominating performances like that since maybe 2001.

  8. Brian Rust on August 16th, 2005 12:56 pm

    FWIW — Last year Madritsch finished 4th among rookie pitchers with a 28.0 VORP in 11 starts (plus 4 relief appearances). King Felix would get 11 starts if he stays on schedule. I would think he’ll surpass Madritsch’s number (assuming VORP is comparable year-to-year).

  9. tangotiger on August 16th, 2005 12:57 pm

    More important is his arbitration-eligibility. Anyone at two years or less is not eligible. Everyone at 3+ is. The guys in between are subject to the specific rule (something like the 17% of the guys with the most service time are eligible). In Felix’s case, he probably doesn’t qualify. That’s why you have teams that bring up their prospects in July or later, so that they can clear this hurdle.

  10. Dave on August 16th, 2005 1:01 pm

    The super-twos that Tango references are based on the upper 1/6th (16.6%) of players with 2 years of service in terms of service days. There’s no way that Felix hits the super-two mark. He’s not going to be arb eligible until after 2008.

  11. tangotiger on August 16th, 2005 1:13 pm

    Dave, thanks, I was trying to remember the term. Do you know the number of days that was the threshhold in the past few years?

  12. Dave on August 16th, 2005 1:16 pm

    The cutoff is usually around the 125 days of service mark. Basically, everyone up after June 1st is usually not going to make it. I don’t remember a recent case of a super-two being called up after the all-star break.

  13. David on August 16th, 2005 1:21 pm

    de omnibus dubitandum est

    I will call him ‘King” and “Great” and all these other wonderful adjectives when the season is over. For now I enjoy the phenomenal perforances but do not get carried away to the point of comparing him with Roger Clemens, aside from the banal fact that they are both right-handed pitchers who throw hard and are tough to hit.

  14. Erik Loomis on August 16th, 2005 1:50 pm

    Felix has not given up an extra base hit in 21 innings. Have any of the other pitchers gone 21 pitches without giving up an extra base hit?

  15. Peter on August 16th, 2005 2:22 pm

    More small sample size goodness about King Felix:

    His line against righties: 10.1 IP, 8H, 2BB 12K – .205/.303/.205… not bad at all
    His line against lefties: 10.2 IP, 3H!!!, 1B, 9k – .088/.121/.088

    Lefties he’s faced include: Carlos Guillen, Dmitri Young, a fiery hot David Dejesus, Jacque Jones, Justin Morneau, and Joe Mauer.

    King Felix turns every left-handed hitter into Scott Spiezi-O-for-Four.

  16. Dave on August 16th, 2005 2:26 pm

    Lefties hit him better than righties in Tacoma. He allowed something like two extra base hits to right-handed hitters all year.

  17. Mords on August 16th, 2005 2:35 pm

    No, lefties are hitting better than the Speez

  18. Kami on August 16th, 2005 2:44 pm

    I am hoping that the 8/31 game is a rubber match against the Yankee’s with Randy Johnson pitching for the pin stripes. Now that would be interesting.

  19. Mords on August 16th, 2005 2:51 pm

    It would only be interesting because it’s Felix. As a rubber game between the Mariners and Yankees could hardly be more meaningless (esp. to us), what game it is doesn’t matter.

  20. The only M's fan in Manitoba on August 16th, 2005 2:51 pm

    The gods of baseball willing, I’ll be sitting in the Homerdome on Saturday night watching my beloved M’s live for the first time in two years. Let’s face it, folks, it’s been that long since catching a live game has been worth the 14 hours on the road and $200USD for a room.

    Sure, it’s only been 3 games, but all hail Felix for giving us something to hope for.

  21. Kami on August 16th, 2005 2:54 pm

    Of course it would be because of Felix, but also Randy and his history here. Passing of the old jerk to the next generation of great Mariner pitcher. Plus with our history with NY. Doesn’t matter if either is playoff bound or not…still a lot of history.

  22. Mords on August 16th, 2005 2:57 pm

    I concede. It would be interesting.

  23. ScottSimpson on August 16th, 2005 3:27 pm

    The best thing about last night’s game: no wave. Attention was actually focused on the game. Felix, the Wave Killer.

  24. feldor on August 16th, 2005 5:20 pm

    They tried to start the wave in the cheap seats around the 8th. It never got going though.

  25. Steve Thornton on August 16th, 2005 5:29 pm

    One more stupid Felix stat: after three games, he’s now third on the team in “RP”, Runs Prevented, and first among starters. Only Eddie and Mateo are above him. That’s not as incredible as it sounds, seeing as how EVERY OTHER Mariners starter is in negative numbers. RP is based on average, not replacement value, as VORP is.

    Felix is still behind by a little in VORP, as our entire rotation except for him is pretty much the dictionary definition of “replacement level”, being only an insignificant fraction better than the thousands and thousands of freely available losers available for free elsewhere.

    Except for one diamond in the dross.

  26. LWM on August 16th, 2005 6:41 pm

    Hello everyone. I’m a die-hard Mariner fan who’s been living on the East coast for the past 15+ years. I recently found this site and I wanted to thank you all for posting such insightful comments. I am finally among kindred spirits.

    As for King Felix, he certainly adds excitement to an otherwise disappointing season. Reading ESPN’s piece reminded me of Rob Neyer’s column several years ago about Ryan Anderson, and how he was far and above the AAA competition. This brings up the question to those fortunate enough to see Felix pitch … how did he compare with the Little Unit, when he was his dominant self in Tacoma before the injuries?

  27. Dave on August 16th, 2005 7:15 pm

    Felix >>>>> Ryan Anderson.

  28. Bela Txadux on August 17th, 2005 6:19 am

    My great pleasure to be at the game for last night’s game, with Mr. Lucky pitching. Comments on the game thread were closed off two minutes before I got online yesterday, so here’s a word or three on Felix and Co. from the stands.

    Re: the Little Evil (El Gato’s change-up, that is) not only is the change-up 10+mph slower than his fastball BUT STILL AT 86 AS GOOD AS MANY PITCHER’S FASTBALLS, and in addition to the fact that it bends in mid patch like macaroni, consider this: it’s a strike. Perfect location down in the zone, and Felix repeats it again and again. The hitters can’t touch it if they swing, but they’ll get rung up if they don’t. Plenty of guys can’t get their change-up over for a strike, it’s just a ”nother look’ pitch; with El Gato it might be his best pitch. Felix uses it to finish batters off, too, which demonstrates a very mature understanding of the game. With two strikes on them, the hitters have to be thinking Big Heat while worrying about Big Evil (the curve), or at the very least be swinging to protect the plate– and they get Little Evil in the zone. . . . It just ain’t fair, to them. *hee hee-hee*

    I think the comparison of Felix to Kerry Wood is very apt, at least in terms of their level of talent and immediate impact. Mr. Lucky is the best pitching package to come up since Wood [Prior just never got into a groove], but not only does Felix have the Little Evil, and good command, unlike the Cubbie, he’s smarter _right now_ than Kerry Wood is ever going to be. Think about these last two games. When Felix has had a trouble spot with men on base, he’s been perfectly willing to throw the ground ball pitch—sinker or curve—thus not only using his defense, but avoiding the bases-clearing XB hit, and most especially staying away from the multi-run dinger. Unlike almost anyone else with his kind of fastball, he doesn’t necessarily reach for the K when in trouble. That is just so impressive to see. Before Felix, I have to think back to Clemens at his peak. (Pedro had great, great stuff, but it took managers years to figure out he should be starting). Clemens had perhaps even better control, but Felix has the change-up and the Death Ray slider we haven’t even seen yet—and El Gato is also three years younger without several seasons of U of T abuse in his arm. But then again, in three starts what has El Rey given up, 1 W and 1 HBP (which the batter dived into, BTW)? This is the stat focus I’ll be looking at as Felix faces better offensive teams, does his walk rate stay down? It won’t stay that low, obviously, but as long as Felix is willing to throw the groundball rather than walk guys, the other team is going to have tremendous difficulty getting a rally going.

    I wondered if Grover would bring Felix back out for the 8th after the long Mariners inning, but I was glad to see it. Felix wasn’t at his pitch count, had tired a little but pitched through it quite well, thank you, and it’s good to challenge him WITHIN REASON, so this was a fine place for it. He rose to what challenge it amounted to extremely well, didn’t give the Royals even a millimeter of daylight, nothing. That’s just the kind of attitude in the guy every pitching coach and manager wants to cultivate, and you can’t do it by ‘pre-guessing’ what he’ll bring to the mound between his heart and his cojones. I don’t need for Felix to be truly great, yet; just to go out and pitch ahead in the count with command for the rest of the season. He’s faced lightweight competition so far, but he’s about to see better hitting teams for the next month, and that’s fine. But as Dave said in Felix’s last game thread, Mr. Lucky is _already_ one of the best pitchers in the majors, not next year, not next month, but right now, baby. Three starts, and there’s only a dozen guys, total, starting major league games who you’d value as much on the mound when your team takes the field. Right now.

    Mike Morse is trying as hard as he can at short—and only just holding his own, barely. He doesn’t have the quickness, it’s clear, either hand or foot. A great idea at the plate, he has that, yes, and he could probably do well at 3B, but where does he fit on this team, then? Traded out, but not for peanuts. Dude understands how to hit, and he comes to play.

    YuBet looked absolutely cool in person, perfect angle to the ball, hands like cotton candy, great instincts; the only two plays he looked bad on both involved _very_ late feeds from Morse that hung him (Yunie) out to dry. I was so much enjoying watching Betancourt, at times I lost track of the game situation with Felix, that’s how good he was. Yunie didn’t have a great day at the plate but he wasn’t looking foolish, either. If it wasn’t for the fact the Felix came up at the same time, we’d all be talking about the tremendous talent which the Ms have in Yubet, and drooling; instead, he seems almost an also ran. Betancourt will never play another inning in the minors that’s not rehab years and years from now.

    Sexon’s HR was the best blast I have seen by a Mariner since when I can remember. Opposite field smoker, looked like it was going to punch through the stands onto the railroad tracks. EEEEE-yowwwWWWWW! Worth the $38 seat I was polishing between standing ovations.

    And Ichi’s bullet HR: It is my opinion that since June or so Ichiro is _deliberately_ trying to drive the ball more in specific game situations, such as if he comes up with two outs, or with men on base and one or two outs. Not when he’s leading off, not when a rally is only just starting. The Ms offense is not exactly sustaining rallies, is it? So it looks to me that Ichiro is looking to get the runs in himself if there are a couple of outs. Oh, he’s picking his spots, but I think his long balls are the product of a deliberate hitting game plan on his part; he’s hit some hard, deep fly balls for outs too in just these kinds of situations, where I never used to see him drive the ball in the air before. It has been obvious to just about everyone that Ichiro could hit HRs regularly in a game if he wanted to. He’s supremely disciplined in what he does, though, and from his first game here it seemed he decided, “My job is to get on base, period,” and did everything conceivable in his game to that end. Hitting fly ball outs does _not_ promote that end, and so Ichiro avoided such outcomes in his hitting plan, period. Now, he seems, to me, to have accepted that the team needs for him to get a few more runs in given the present context, so he’s fine tuned his hitting game subtly to that end. . . . I think Ichiro could hit 20 HRs a year, automatically, bank on it, if he decides to, without fundamentally altering his game, just pick his spots like he’s doing now. I really hope he does that.

    What a cool game to see with me and my best buddy.