Summing Up Felix

Dave · April 12, 2007 at 8:07 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Larry Stone with lots of quotes from players. John Hickey too. And Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe has a piece syndicated in the P-I. Also, Rob Neyer gives USSM a pretty nice plug in his latest blog entry. Thanks Rob.

And, just because it’s fun, here’s some statistical tidbits from Felix’s start to 2007:

85.7% of the balls in play he’s allowed have been groundballs. That’s remarkable, and further evidence of what we’ve been saying for a while – when Felix is getting groundballs, he’s unhittable.

Felix’s opening day Game Score was an 86, the best of any start in the majors this year. Until yesterday, when he threw an 89. He now has thrown the two best games of any pitcher this year.

Felix’s Win Probability Added for last nights game was .502. The rest of the M’s were at -.02. Talk about carrying a team on your back.

Felix has now thrown at least 8 innings in a start as many times this year as he did all of last year.

Opposing hitters are 4 for 52 against Felix this year.


42 Responses to “Summing Up Felix”

  1. waldo rojas on April 12th, 2007 8:15 am

    There is no such thing as Natural Selection. There are only animals that Felix allows to live.

  2. louder on April 12th, 2007 8:23 am

    Contrasted with Matsuzaka’s solid but unspectacular effort in his Fenway unveiling (seven innings, eight hits, three runs), Mariners outfielder Jose Guillen could come to just one conclusion: Felix was, and is, the superior pitcher.

    “You can see the big difference between those two guys,” he said. “To me, there’s no comparison right there. If you know baseball, and saw what was there today, you don’t even need to ask that question. That was a great lineup they had on the other side.”

    Jose got this one right. No way would you take Dice-K over Hernandez. What is really impressive about Felix is that he is pitching so smart, with a real game plan for each hitter. Doc Gooden wass the only other young pitcher whose in the same league Hernandez, though to give the devil his due, Doc was probably better.

  3. Spanky on April 12th, 2007 8:27 am

    Felix has the making of a great, dominating, long career ahead of him. What’s the formula for making sure he has a great, dominating, LONG career ahead of him as a Mariner?

  4. sparky on April 12th, 2007 8:32 am

    What do you expect his GB% to be over the course of the season?

  5. Spanky on April 12th, 2007 8:34 am

    Gooden was better at 19 yrs old than Felix was. At 20… it’s too early to tell. Doc was great for 2 season (no disrespect to him) but on just “stuff” alone…I would take Felix. Remember: Doc pitched in the NL and at the end of the dead-ball eara when 2. something ERA’s were more common.

  6. Jar on April 12th, 2007 8:34 am

    Some kids piss their name in the snow. King Felix can piss his name into concrete.

  7. Shizane on April 12th, 2007 8:36 am

    Dave – it’s nearly time to update Felix’s present reward rating to 10. Or perhaps even 12.

  8. CThornber on April 12th, 2007 8:53 am

    I was just checking out the Hardball Times pitching statistics (AL THT Pitching). When you go there it automatically sorts by PRC (Pitching Runs Created). I was surprised that Felix’s name was not at the top so I sorted by another stat that I was sure would feature Felix at the top, xFIP. Sure enough, he was, but his entry for PRC was “N/A.”

    Sometimes greatness simply can’t be measured by mathematics.

  9. vin on April 12th, 2007 9:12 am

    The game went off at +160 last night. The real question is whether or not Felix has a start all year that is less than -200.

  10. CThornber on April 12th, 2007 9:12 am

    Oh, and one more thing my buddy just told me

    When Felix pitches the K’s don’t stand for strikeouts, they stand for knockouts.

  11. atait on April 12th, 2007 9:20 am

    I was just impressed with how he attacked the bottom half of the zone. That slider was unhittable, and his two-seam fastballs bored down and in on righties – pure death. He really looked to be making a conscious effort to “throw a groundball.”

    The kid is getting it.

  12. em on April 12th, 2007 9:33 am

    I coach my 14-yr old in Babe Ruth – he pitches. My trainng videos are Tivo’s of King Felix. Long live the King.

  13. Mustard on April 12th, 2007 9:44 am

    King Felix alone is the reason I bought MLB TV. The cost was certainly worth the price of admission. Being that I live in Ontario, Canada I will only get to see Felix live maybe twice when they visit the Jays.

  14. Evan on April 12th, 2007 9:56 am

    The King’s 2007 VORP is now 10.5. At this rate he’ll surpass Johan Santana’s 2006 VORP in only 16 starts.

  15. S-Mac on April 12th, 2007 10:03 am

    Does Rob Neyer forget the, um, critiques of his work in this blog?

  16. Mariner Fan in CO Exile on April 12th, 2007 10:29 am

    We all knew he could pitch, this season has only one significant difference from last year. What matters is his maturity and the fact that he is thinking about what he is doing up there rather than thinking his great stuff will carry him through. Look kids, we had the recipe for a DISASTER brewing before yesterday’s game. A depression-causing, funk creating, tantrum-inducing set of circumstances (not just for us but for our ace of the decade).

    Let us count the ways – an over-hyped $100 mill+ starting pitcher on the other side (who has an arsenal of like 30 different pitches and a press corps following his every move); a storyline that barely includes Felix’s name in most of the major reports – Ichiro v. Matsuzaka is the focus – and Felix’s great start isn’t even a secondary headline for most people; 8 days off between starts; a 21st birthday celebration that could have included too much partying if Felix had not had his head on straight; the pressure of pitching in Boston on their Dice-K opening day; a demoralizing team loss the day before from which ordinary pitchers would have become somewhat nervous about the line-up to be faced the next day; the list can go on.

    But instead of caving to all of this, he comes out, gears himself up, and wastes the entire Boston line-up for 9 magical innings. He makes them look silly, causes them to shrink in frustration and awe. He has a no-hitter going for 7 innings. And then comes the greatest moment of the game for me – the no hitter is broken up. How can that be great, you ask? Well, I, like you I am sure, held my breath after that hit. Felix showed the disappointment on his face. For 10 seconds, he looked like a normal 21 year old who just found out his car was being repossessed, his girlfriend left him, he had to take extra classes during the summer, and his parents were cutting off his cash flow because of bad grades. He LOOKED vulnerable. But then it happened. You could see it, feel it even. He regained his composure. Chatted with Kenji. Took a deep breath. Recognized a nice single for what it was, and smoked the rest of the line-up for 2 wonderful innings. He didn’t crack. Hell, he didn’t even quiver. The King did what pitchers with 10 years on him are often unable to do – he sucked it up like a man, casually dismissed the blip against his greatness, and did his thing.

    That’s where his dominance will come from. And if his attitude and confidence remain this sound, and he stays healthy, it’s gonna be a long sweet ride. As long as Felix decides he doesn’t want to act like a kid on the mound, this is going to be good.

  17. DMZ on April 12th, 2007 10:30 am

    I’m a Neyer fan. I also don’t think it’s surprising that Rob would say nice things even though Dave’s made some pointed comments criticizing some of his analysis.

  18. Zero Gravitas on April 12th, 2007 10:36 am


  19. MarinerDan on April 12th, 2007 10:39 am

    DMZ/Dave —

    Over at BP, Will Carroll made some comments lamenting The King’s mechanics (e.g., falling off to the first-base side of the mound) and hinting that it could increase his risk of injury (God forbid). I know what you think of Will, but I was wondering whether either of you view The King’s mechanics as a real risk factor in whether he will suffer an injury?

  20. Tek Jansen on April 12th, 2007 10:47 am

    I also like the subtle, subliminal message by Guillen’s quote that, compared to the Red Sox, the M’s lineup is awfully pedestrian.

  21. Rockymariner on April 12th, 2007 10:48 am

    I’m not smart enough to comment with authority on his mechanics but boy, he sure fields his position well. It seem slike he is in position when he comes of the mound. Will Caroll?………………..I dunno man…………..

  22. BLYKMYK44 on April 12th, 2007 10:50 am

    Should a handy calendar be added to the top of the site that lists each of Felix’s upcoming home starts for the following few weeks. Might be nice to help people plan their weeks…

  23. Dave on April 12th, 2007 10:52 am

    His mechanics aren’t great, but they’re not horrible.

  24. gomo on April 12th, 2007 10:54 am

    On Felix’s tax returns, he claims the entire Mariner roster as his dependents.

  25. dw on April 12th, 2007 11:08 am

    Twitter exchange between me and Will Carroll last night:

    wnalyd: @injuryexpert: Hail to the King, baby.
    injuryexpert: all hail felix. all fear his mechanics

    I’ve thought about sending him my photos from 2005 and the opening day start. The “falling off to the left” thing seems to be less of a problem now. I worry more about his left knee than his shoulder.

  26. Dylan on April 12th, 2007 11:08 am


  27. em on April 12th, 2007 11:08 am

    I’ll weigh in on the falling off the mound comment:

    Will Carroll is an idiot. My qualifications for rebuttal are simple: I am a scientist (working on PhD, but practicing my craft professionally); I’ve pitched against Division I, semi-pro, and minor league hitters; I teach and coach advanced hitting and pitching techniques up to the high school level.

    My professional background compels me to challenge conventional wisdom; to access and leverage the best available scientific and technical resources, and to constantly improve my ability to convey my knowledge gained to lay audiences.

    And make no mistake – this is a lay audience. The finer points of biomechanical theory are not accessible to all, and even I find it a challenge after years of study and a comprehension of the language.

    So, when I say Will Carroll is an idiot, I am prepared to back it up with more information than anyone wants.

    The short and skinny is: pitchers who modify their mechanics for perfect fielding position are committing a grave mistake that degrades performance and increases the risk of injury.

    Pitchers who optimize their mechanics for better pitches pitch better (and need to field less).

    Pitchers rotate their mass around their front leg. Power pitchers rotate faster, with more momentum. That rotation is to the left for a righhander. By allowing his momentum to carry him off to the left, Felix is optimizing his decelleration (less energy is absorbed by his body). Landing square to optimum fielding position requires that momentum be arrested. Arresting momentum requires that rotational energy be absorbed into the body. Absorbing more energy into the body increases wear and tear.

    Pitching to fielding position = bad for body
    Pitching to fielding position = less effective pitches

  28. Dylan on April 12th, 2007 11:09 am

    Pineiro. Sigh.

  29. em on April 12th, 2007 11:12 am

    Another word of caution for those that think there is such a thing as perfect mechanics:

    Actually, two words: Mark Prior.

    Prior was widely considered to have the most perfect pitching mechanics in the game. Prior is a perfect example of why we instructors need to leave the ego at home and continue to develop our knowledge of what is really going on.

  30. jbrown8 on April 12th, 2007 11:37 am

    King Felix is a great nickname, but I also enjoy calling him F-Her.

  31. brian_sun on April 12th, 2007 11:38 am

    I have been a Cubs fan all my life. I only became a Mariners fan after I moved to Seattle in 96. Felix’s game reminds me of the Kerry Wood 20K game in his rookie season. At that time, every one in the Cubs nation thought Kerry’s right arm will carry the team to end a 90 year curse. I saw the same hope when Prior won 18 games in 03 and was pretty much the best pitcher in NL that year.

    Experts always critized Wood’s mechanic. He had a better fastball than Felix, also a better curve (I am talking about when he was healthy in his rookie season.) Felix’s slider at 91-93 was just devastating. Stuff wise, Wood and Felix is about equal. I would take Felix’s makeup over Wood. With Wood, when he’s in trouble, he just throws harder and harder. Felix is smarter than that.

    But injury is always the #1 concern. We see how brilliant Francisco Liriano was last year, probably as good as Felix this year. I am concerned about over using Felix. I actually wanted Putz to come in for the 9th last night. After all, Felix just turned 21. Unless you are Greg Maddux, every great pitcher gets hurt some time, especially power pitchers. I just hope the Mariners will watch out for him for his pitch count. Otherwise, I think I will be seeing Wood all over again.

  32. lokiforever on April 12th, 2007 11:45 am

    This is kind of a dumb question. I thought “no-no” referred to a perfect game, meaning no hits, and no base runners. But it seems now that “no-no” refers to just a no hitter, regardless of walks, HBP, errors, etc.

    Did I just make this up, or has the term “no-no” devlolved over time?

    While not superstitious, I ceritnaly didn’t lik ethe announcers calling it out from teh 5th inning.

  33. Evan on April 12th, 2007 11:50 am

    His mechanics aren’t great, but they’re not horrible.

    As long as his mechanics produce those pitches, his mechanics are great.

  34. MarinerDan on April 12th, 2007 11:52 am

    To my knowledge, “no-no” always referenced a no-hitter, not a perfect game.

  35. LB on April 12th, 2007 11:55 am

    “No hits, no runs.”

  36. lokiforever on April 12th, 2007 12:34 pm

    No hits, no runs….thank you

  37. Mat on April 12th, 2007 1:05 pm

    While not superstitious, I ceritnaly didn’t lik ethe announcers calling it out from teh 5th inning.

    The main problem with starting to discuss it in the 5th inning is that it’s just soooo far from being completed. By the 7th and certainly 8th, you’ve got to mention it, as a responsible broadcaster, but if it’s noteworthy that there are no hits after five innings, it should be self-evident that it’s not too likely the pitcher’s going to make it four more innings without allowing a hit.

  38. Mr. Egaas on April 12th, 2007 1:07 pm

    Dave, are you still charting Felix? He’s been dominant thus far, have there been any changes in patterns or just better execution?

  39. Karen on April 12th, 2007 4:14 pm

    It’s amazing how much The King’s performance yesterday has aroused the greed of several Yankee fans (sandwiched between a lot of awed comments, and gratitude for beating the Red Sox), as evidenced by a thread on

    To wit: 1. “Anyway, after looking around he’s should be a FA after the 2010 season right? Here’s to King Felix to the Bronx in 2011…”

    2. “After watching the Boston game last night I would say if Felix is as good as he is now in 2010. I say we get him a contract for the Yankees. Not to bring any of your hopes down but 3 years is a long time. A lot can happen in 3 years.But from what I’m seeing now I say we sign him with the Yankees when he becomes a free agent.”

    3. “Seattle better be careful or they’ll become the replacement for the 90’s Tigers. […] And according to this site [Hernandez] is currently under a one year contract. This could mean we either get a shot at him in December or he could end up being a mid-season trade within the next few years as the M’s continue to decline. Good spot to use those prospects, eh?” (funny…the latter 2 Yankee fans evidently forgot about the 6-year team-control rights)

  40. mrkenny on April 12th, 2007 9:23 pm

    the main difference in a perfect game vs a no-no:
    a no-no aka a no-hitter is where there can be any number of walks or hit batsmen but no earned runs.

  41. Phoenician Todd on April 12th, 2007 10:03 pm

    Gotta love it, Kruk just dropped another “King Felix” reference. god I love this

  42. Ken in London on April 13th, 2007 6:50 am

    As I recall, another dominant right-handed pitcher that fell off towards first base was Bob Gibson, and in a more dramatic fashion. If I remember correctly, he said that pitchers should go with their natural motion, even if it put them in a nominally awkward position for fielding. In other words, make the pitch, then get ready to field (I think the comments were in Joe Morgan’s book, Idiots Guide to Baseball or something like – is it embarrassing to admit I have a copy?). And, again if I recall correctly, Gibson was considered a good fielding pitcher in his day.

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