More Felix Fun

Dave · August 22, 2005 at 8:17 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Because there’s nothing else on the team that even begins to bring a smile to my face, here’s more musings on the greatness of Felix Hernandez.

Through four starts, King Felix has faced 107 batters and allowed 0 extra base hits. How good is that? He’s tied Mariano Rivera for the fourth longest streak of batters faced without giving up an extra base knock on the season, and if his next start is anything like his first four, he’ll stand alone at the top of the list. Here it is, for those who are curious.

Kyle Farnsworth, 125 batters faced, May 2nd to August 4th
Sergio Mitre, 115 batters faced, May 29th to June 24th
Noah Lowry, 113 batters faced, July 26th to August 17th
Mariano Rivera, 107 batters faced, April 9th to July 2nd
Felix Hernandez, 107 batters faced, August 4th to present

The craziest name on the list (which I got from the awesome Keith Woolner-thanks Keith): Shigetoshi Hasegawa, who faced 76 batters from May 29th to July 29th without allowing an extra base knock. Who knew?

Going back to the past 33 years (all that we have play by play data for), by the way, the record belongs to Bob Welch at 223 batters faced.

Okay, how about something else? The chances of different events occurring in any given at-bat against Felix through his first four starts:

14.95 % chance of a hit
0.00 % chance of an extra base hit
3.74 % chance of a walk
0.93 % chance of being HBP
28.04 % chance of striking out
42.06 % of hitting into a groundout
10.28 % chance of flying out

If you want a comparison, here’s Dwight Gooden’s percentages from his crazy 1985 season, when he won the Cy Young at age 20.

18.59 % chance of a hit
3.66 % chance of an extra base hit
6.48 % chance of a walk
0.19 % chance of being HBP
25.16 % chance of striking out

Opposing batters put up a .201/.253/.270 line against Gooden that season. The average line for the hitters he faced that year was .253/.319/.375. In other words, Gooden knocked 25 percent off a normal hitters line when he faced him. Felix is cutting 53 percent off the average line of the hitters he has faced, turning them into a collection of pitchers. People are hitting .157/.196/.157 against him. That’s… there’s no words for that.

Lets see, what else. Among major league starting pitchers who qualify for the ERA title, here are the league leaders in a few categories, and then Felix’s numbers next to those:

ERA: Clemens, 1.56 – Felix, 1.24
Fielding Independant ERA: Clemens, 2.61 – Felix, 1.60
Component ERA: Clemens, 1.64 – Felix, 0.70 (!)
G/F: Webb, 3.90 – Felix, 4.25
BB/G: Silva, 0.5 – Felix, 1.4
K/G: Peavy, 11.0, – Felix, 10.4
Line Drive %: Lowe, 15.5 percent – Felix, 11.0 percent
Opponents OPS: Clemens, .507 – Felix, .353
WHIP: P. Martinez, 0.89 – Felix, 0.67
Pitches/Inning: Silva, 12.0 – Felix, 13.4 (Felix would rank a measly 2nd in the majors)

Among starting pitchers, his groundball rate is the best in the majors, his strikeout rate is second best, and his walk rate would tie him for sixth best. He’s given up less line drives than anyone else. It’s not even close, actually. His rate of baserunners per innings is off the chart. And he’s doing it with less pitches than everyone other than Carlos “Walks Are A Ticket To Hell” Silva.

How about this one. Game Score is kind of a gimmicky stat developed to summarize a pitchers start in one number (which is almost impossible), but its kinda fun to look at. The highest average game score this year belongs to Roger Clemens (of course) at 66.3. Felix’s average game score? 72.3. His average game score in his last three starts, where he wasn’t on a restrictive pitch count? 77.3.

Through four starts, Felix has been a mutant combination of Randy Johnson’s strikeout dominance, Greg Maddux’s control, Roy Halladay’s efficiency, and Brandon Webb’s groundball rate.

His next start is at home on Friday against the White Sox. Buy tickets. Go to the game. Don’t miss the King in action. Good luck, White Sox.


99 Responses to “More Felix Fun”

  1. Jim Osmer on August 22nd, 2005 2:04 pm

    My favorite thing about Felix is his confidence in throwing any of his 3 pitches in any count. Freddy had that trait for awhile too.
    Most other pitchers are somewhat predictable (2-0 count, here comes a fastball, 0-2 here comes a slider).

    Obviously Felix has stuff no one else on this staff has. But can some of his approach and confidence rub off on others?

  2. Conor Glassey on August 22nd, 2005 2:12 pm

    Dave – I believe you mean “In like Flynn”

  3. slim on August 22nd, 2005 2:19 pm

    Dave, why the Washburn hate?

    Road ERA among potential Mariner free agent acquisitions:

    1. Washburn – 2.44
    2. Millwood – 2.93
    3. Estes (heh) – 3.09
    4. Rogers (heh)- 3.26
    5. Burnett – 3.51
    6. Morris – 3.77
    7. Byrd – 3.96
    8. Weaver – 4.05
    ?? Moyer – 6.37

    Getting him out of the Big A could turn him into a major find. He’s about as durable as SPs get. He’s a lefty, which works well against our division rivals and in our home stadium.

    None of this year’s crop are a sure thing, but Washburn is far from he worst. I’d put my money on Weaver being the next Chan Ho Park. Some team is going to pay him to put up better numbers than he’s done in LA? Ha!

  4. Jim Osmer on August 22nd, 2005 2:22 pm

    Any chance in hell that Foppert/Soriano/Nageotte get stretched out and compete for a rotation spot next year?

  5. DMZ on August 22nd, 2005 2:28 pm

    Foppert, mmmmaaaaaaybe.
    Soriano, yeah. Does he want to start, though?
    Nageotte I’ve given up on as a starter.

  6. Ryan Carson on August 22nd, 2005 2:58 pm

    His Majesty against the struggling White Sox. I am salivating over this start. Seriously, I have begun to watch the starts that sandwich Felix’s starts and the stark contrast is almost obscene. Viva Felix el Rey!

  7. Rusty on August 22nd, 2005 3:05 pm

    Doesn’t Soriano, like Nageotte, only throw 2 pitches for strikes?

  8. Dave on August 22nd, 2005 3:08 pm

    Dave, why the Washburn hate?

    Because he’s been so absurdly lucky this year that everyone thinks he’s a good pitcher, when in reality, he’s at best a #4 starter on a mediocre club.

    Getting him out of the Big A could turn him into a major find.

    The Big A is a neutral ballpark. It doesn’t favor hitters at all. So no.

    He’s about as durable as SPs get.

    He’s already spent time on the DL this year with arm problems.

    He’s a lefty, which works well against our division rivals and in our home stadium.

    Yes, this is a tiny point in his favor.

    But he’s still a guy having a mediocre season, following a mediocre career, who simply has an artificially low ERA not based on any kind of skill improvement. His fielding independant ERA is 4.42, ranking 32nd out of the 49 AL qualifiers for the ERA title. His strikeout rate of 4.9 K/G is the same as Gil Meche and lower than Jamie Moyer. He doesn’t make up for it with masterful control, either. His 2.8 BB/G is higher than Joel Pineiro’s, and ranks 30th out of the same 49 pitchers.

    His component ERA is 4.54, about the same as guys like Horacio Ramirez, Brett Tomko, and Jason Marquis. He’s not pitching any differently than he has in his mediocre major league career. He is what he is; a mediocre back end starter. And because he’s posting a superficial ERA of 3.38, he’s going to get a big contract.

  9. Rusty on August 22nd, 2005 3:11 pm

    I have what I hope most people will take as a humorous observation…

    Specifically, in baseball the terms “sick” and “filthy” are taking on gigantic proportion in being descriptive of good performance in both hitting and pitching. They’re being used a lot on discussion boards, but also very much in the general print and broadcast sports media, too.

    My question is… we already had “nasty”, for example, to describe someone who had a great fastball. Filthy and sick seem rather redundant. The other day on the postgame show I heard Mike Blowers squeeze in all 3, sick, filthy and nasty in just two back to back sentences to describe Felix’s stuff. He must be going for a record.

  10. Paul Molitor Cocktail on August 22nd, 2005 3:17 pm

    How about “naughty”?

  11. Evan on August 22nd, 2005 3:30 pm

    I’m waiting for “ill” and “repugnant”.

  12. Phil on August 22nd, 2005 3:37 pm

    I’m going to the Yankee game on the 31st – I’m so excited for Felix to whoop on Randy.

  13. Long Suffering on August 22nd, 2005 3:46 pm

    2 of Burnett, Millwood, Matsuzaka. I’m going to keep saying it until it becomes true.

    Moyer, Felix, (Good) Joel, FA, FA

    No trade meaning we keep Morse and Bucky for the bench.

    AL Pennant in 06.

  14. Jim Osmer on August 22nd, 2005 3:51 pm

    I still would like to think that Madritsch makes the rotation next year and we have two cocky non-HR pitchers to set the pace.

  15. roger tang on August 22nd, 2005 3:53 pm

    Feh. Think we’ll be LUCKY to get one of Millwood, Burnett, Matsuzaka.

    Felix, Moyer, (Bad) Joel and two scrap heap prayers.


  16. slim on August 22nd, 2005 3:55 pm

    I’m still not convinced on Washburn. Peripherals are good indicators, but they don’t seem to explain why it is he’s so good on the road. If you go back and look at 2002-2004, his road ERA sits at 3.55, and that’s including his two “off” years in 03-04. He would have to find a way to pitch worse at Safeco Field than he has on the road for the last 4 years in order to be considered “mediocre”.

    The Big A may be a neutral park in general, but for Jarrod Washburn it is most definitely not neutral for whatever reason.

    The guy missed 2 starts this year, 7 starts last year. He’s had 30 starts 3 of the last 4 years, and should hit that again this season. That’s as dependable as Millwood and Morris have been.

  17. tede on August 22nd, 2005 3:58 pm

    On the topic of pitch counts for right-handed pitchers from Valencia, Venezuela……
    Martin Cornieles threw 137 pitches in 6 innings today against Japan in the LL World Series (Venezuela lost 7-4).

    No comment from his manager Miguel Hargrove.

  18. Colm on August 22nd, 2005 3:59 pm

    I think good Joel has gone away, and isn’t coming back any time soon.

    Has anyone come up with a good postulate as to why the arsehole has fallen out of Joel’s world. It’s not like Moyer (skills finally declining with age) or Meche (has never lived to his ‘potential’ for more than a four or five game stretch) or Franklin (never that good to begin with). Joel used to be a good number three starter, with a fastball, a curve and a changeup, and strike out 6 or 7 per nine innings. Some of his low ERA numbers were down to the Safeco effect, some might have been luck, but who saw this coming two years ago?

    Dave, earlier this year, swore Pineiro was pitching hurt – that it was messing up his realease point and consistency. I haven’t heard any other rumours to back this up, but it seems consistent with his abysmal performance. If this were the case, might we be seeing Joel out for surgery for a full season?

    What reasons might there be to suspect that Joel will stop being crap?

  19. Dave on August 22nd, 2005 4:06 pm

    I’m still not convinced on Washburn. Peripherals are good indicators, but they don’t seem to explain why it is he’s so good on the road.

    He hasn’t been “so good” on the road. His actual performance (hint: not ERA) is just as mediocre on the road as it is at the Big A. You need to stop looking at ERA and assuming that it’s an accurate guage of his ability going forward.

    He would have to find a way to pitch worse at Safeco Field than he has on the road for the last 4 years in order to be considered “mediocre”.

    Or, he could continue to pitch just as mediocrely at Safeco as he has everywhere else.

    Jarrod Washburn is a left-handed Ryan Franklin. For stretches of time (see 2003), these guys can post artificially low ERAs, especially when playing in front of a good defense (also see Abbott, Paul). It doesn’t indicate any kind of actual ability.

  20. Mike Snow on August 22nd, 2005 4:09 pm

    #58 – You forgot the critical reason we can’t possibly sign Washburn. Just think of what it would do to the Ignitor’s batting average.

  21. John in L.A. on August 22nd, 2005 4:10 pm


    I noticed that Odalis Perez cleared waivers. I know he’s not a savior and has his own set of problems… but what do you think it would take to pry him from the Dodgers?

    And would you do it?

  22. DMZ on August 22nd, 2005 4:20 pm

    Dave, earlier this year, swore Pineiro was pitching hurt – that it was messing up his realease point and consistency. I haven’t heard any other rumours to back this up, but it seems consistent with his abysmal performance. If this were the case, might we be seeing Joel out for surgery for a full season?

    That was me. Dave had other thoughts.

  23. Rusty on August 22nd, 2005 4:24 pm

    Well, if Jaret Wright is available I definitely don’t want him, unless Leo Mazzone is packaged with him. Even then… not so much.

  24. DMZ on August 22nd, 2005 4:26 pm

    What, really? If Leo came free with Jaret Wright, I’d take Jaret Wright. Mmm… staff-wide pitching goodness…

  25. Benjamin on August 22nd, 2005 4:29 pm

    #63 & 65 – I agree that we will be lucky to get one of those three. Burnett being the premier pitcher in FA, I can’t imagine the M’s will outbid everybody else, and there is a part of me wondering if they should even try. Make a strong run at Millwood, try to find a solid pitcher to make an offer to. Run with a FA (Millwood), Hernandez, Moyer, Pineiro (for better or for worse) and somebody (Foppert, Livingston, Soriano???, Harris, Bazardo).
    Any chance Jason Schmidt would become available? Is he worth trading for?

  26. Eric on August 22nd, 2005 4:32 pm

    If Leo Mazzone is attached to him I’d take any FA pitcher, Sele, Halama, Chan Ho Park, anyone…

  27. Evan on August 22nd, 2005 4:49 pm

    Speaking of Jaret Wright, it took him 46 pitches to throw 2 no-hit innings so far against Toronto.

  28. isaac on August 22nd, 2005 4:54 pm

    speaking of felix’s start on friday…something that has always puzzled me about pitching rotations is why clubs stick with a five man rotation even in weeks when they have a day off…it seems to me like theres no sense in starting your worst pitcher more often then you absolutely have to. Is there something im missing?

  29. Rusty on August 22nd, 2005 5:03 pm

    #78… There’s the new theory that you have to give your #5 guy a regularly occurring spot in the rotation or he will pitch worse than he would otherwise. It makes no sense to me. I agree with your idea that keeping your best 4 starters on a 5 day rotation makes more sense.

  30. Colm on August 22nd, 2005 5:58 pm

    72 Sorry Derek for the misattribution. Mea culpa.

  31. Colm on August 22nd, 2005 6:07 pm

    Anyone hazzard another stab at why Joel is now Bad Joel, and whether we can ever reasonably expect to see a not so bad Joel again.

    As said before, if Franklin of Meche even threaten to make the pitching staff of this team in 2006 we should all do to spring training and throw rocks at them until they go away.

    I mean, it’s not as if either of them could hit us if they start throwing rocks back, is it?

  32. Dylan on August 22nd, 2005 6:19 pm


    In terms of FA pitchers, what’s your thought on Matzusaka (sp?). If you’ve already mentioned this in another thread, just throw me the link.

  33. ray on August 22nd, 2005 6:29 pm

    This just makes next year depressing because he is the only good pitcher they have. I wonder what effect a suckfest of a year (2006) would have on such a young pitcher. Eventually he’ll look around and see he is the only one doing well. What would that do to him?

  34. Gomez on August 22nd, 2005 6:41 pm

    I have my ticket. I can’t believe I was able to get a centerfield bleacher ticket for Friday (yeah, I’m cheap). I’ve also got tickets for Tuesday, and Felix’s start on Wednesday, vs the Yankees (possibly facing a Mr. Randy Johnson). Can’t wait.

    I actually don’t find the prospect of next year depressing, only because I’m sure the front office will make acquiring starting pitching the priority that they made acquiring power hitting last year. Bavasi went and got Sexson and Beltre, and though Beltre could be better, he’s been somewhat productive, definitely an improvement to the lineup powerwise, and I don’t need to go into detail on Sexson’s performance this year.

    I’m not saying Bavasi will be able to throw down $100 mil and get two top-shelf starters. Not even. If he can get/trade for a quality starter, and land either Matsuzaka or get another reliable arm for the rotation, we’re already looking at a significant improvement over what’s easily been this team’s biggest weakness: the rotation.

    You give us a rotation of Felix, Moyer (who ain’t bad), the best starter Bavasi can get in the offseason, and find two low-cost guys that you can count on to do better than Sele/Pineiro/Franklin/Meche have done this year, with Jeff Harris or someone who can start and hold their own if necessary for the pen, and things are looking much better for this team. Not playoffs better, but .500-or-even-a-winning-record better.

  35. Long Suffering on August 22nd, 2005 7:29 pm

    81: I’m of the opinion that Bad Joel was caused by the injury. Like Osmer said (post 44), Joel of the last 4 starts is looking a lot more like the old Joel (in terms of throwing over the top, which he needs in order for his curveball to be good). Joel’s injury was a new diagnosis in the medfield and didn’t have a clear recovery timeline. When pitchers aren’t healthy, changes in their mechanics occur often (look at Gagne and the knee injury leading to the elbow injury).

    If you go back and read old scouting reports from Joel and Meche, the reports on Joel talk about the movement he has on his pitches and how he’s a player to watch. The reports on Meche mention his stuff of course, but even in 2000 talk about his lack of control and how that must be fixed if he’s to have success at the big level.

    Also, as DMZ has pointed out, ERA is not a good indication of a pitcher’s quality. Look at Joel’s peripherals, especially his DIPS, they’re steady from 02 through 04 at respectible levels (~ 8Hi/9, 1HR/9, 2.5BB/9, 6K/9) For comparison, they’re nearly equal to Freddy Garcia’s DIPS.

  36. Dave on August 22nd, 2005 7:31 pm

    Actually, the scouting reports on Pineiro were pretty mediocre until he got to Tacoma and added about 4 MPH to his fastball overnight. He was a middling prospect who outperformed all expectations at the start of his career, and is now pitching about like we thought he would when the team drafted him. Good Joel is gone forever.

  37. Long Suffering on August 22nd, 2005 7:32 pm

    Actually, it appears it was Dave, not DMZ who was talking about the fallacies of just looking at ERA. Man, we’re botching up the credit in this thread.

  38. Long Suffering on August 22nd, 2005 7:35 pm

    86: I only have reports dating back to 2000 so I was going off those. For instance in 2000 it talked about his good K/BB ratio, 2001 was the faster fastball, 2002 was the movement on said fastball.

  39. Saul on August 22nd, 2005 7:37 pm

    Why hasn’t Madstridch (yes I’m sure I butchered it) been mentioned at all?

  40. Long Suffering on August 22nd, 2005 7:41 pm

    He has by some people. I, for one, really like watching him pitch and think that if he’s healthy, he can find a place on the team. I’m just not willing to count on his health, much the same as with Doyle.

    I’d rather plan on him not being able to contribute and then if he is, added bonus. If not, it’s ok. I’ve seen too many losses the past two years that I think were partly the result of not having contingency plans in case players sucked. I just don’t want to have to count on Bobby making it back. I hope he does though.

  41. Gomez on August 22nd, 2005 8:19 pm

    For some reason, the consensus is that Madritsch (it’s cool, Saul; it’s a tough name to get right) is probably done, not exactly fair given the only knock on his injury is that it’s rare and there isn’t much experience in treating it. However, the fact that he’s healed it up and that the M’s are playing it VERY safe, waiting until last month just to start him on low-impact exercises and likely not letting him throw off a mound the rest of this year, bodes well for a return sometime early next year, if not at Spring Training then somewhere in May.

    Of course, can he revert to the flashy form he showed late in 2004? I think his lack of proven experience is what’s led to his being written off. Or maybe, given he’s spent his life being written off, this is the M’s organization’s way of motivating him: by ignoring him and letting the critics write him off as a loss 😛

  42. Pud on August 22nd, 2005 8:37 pm

    I don’t think it’s fair to say he’s gone forever. How many players have performed at respectable levels for several years, and then suddenly turn to crap? I can see one fluke year, but several? I just see someone who got hurt, and who might not be fully healed. His peripherals in his first few years in the majors weren’t horrible, and I have a hard time believing that he just simply played over his head for no apparent reason for 3 or 4 years.

  43. Long Suffering on August 22nd, 2005 8:38 pm

    Re: Madritsch (think mad-rits-ch for spelling help)

    Does anyone have a more updated stance on his health status. The only thing I could find was that his MRI on July 16th showed his shoulder had completely healed.

    Seems like a April return, giving 9 months for rehab, is reasonable?

  44. troy on August 22nd, 2005 9:21 pm

    Dave, hmmmm, wonder how someone could magically add 4 MPH’s to their fastball, and then all of a sudden lose that velocity in the past two seasons? Interesting.

    BTW, Jason Churchill at insidethepark has the same theory (or perhaps the same source) on Joel.

  45. Pilots Fan on August 22nd, 2005 9:27 pm

    Oooh, Dave — in #86 you’re running the risk of getting your comment deleted, aren’t you? 😉

  46. Pilots Fan on August 22nd, 2005 9:28 pm

    Oops, looks like troy and I are thinking along the same lines …

  47. jack howland on August 22nd, 2005 9:36 pm

    I think that Lowry’s streak was still active, although it ended tonight at 132 when Jason Michaels doubled in the 7th.

  48. eponymous coward on August 22nd, 2005 11:46 pm

    Yeah, that’s probably a good point about Washburn- his K/9 numbers are down from 2001-2003. I don’t think I’d go above 2 years, and like I said, he’d not be my primary target.

    That being said, Safeco must be heaven for extreme flyball pitchers like Washburn- and Washburn HAS allowed less H/IP and HR/IP away from the Big A, both in 2005 and across his 2002-2004 splits. That’s a fair chunk of data.

  49. G-Man on August 23rd, 2005 9:54 am

    Washburn? After the tremendous luck we’ve had with Spiezio and Sele, would the Angels risk having us sign away one of their guys? 🙂