More Felix Fun
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.