Community Projections: Felix Hernandez
In the second of our reviews of how the USSM/LL community expects the Mariners pitching staff to do (Jeff Sullivan will be starting the hitter reviews shortly), we tackle King Felix. Data first from the 65 projections, then commentary:
Average Projection: 204 IP, 192 H, 31 2B, 4 3B, 19 HR, 55 BB, 197 K, 6 HBP, 56% GB%, 3.38 FIP
Optimist (snoss): 207 IP, 200 H, 32 2B, 7 3B, 13 HR, 58 BB, 232 K, 7 HBP, 52% GB%, 2.72 FIP
Pessimist (Gomez): 200 IP, 208 H, 34 2B, 3 3B, 21 HR, 57 BB, 173 K, 12 HBP, 61% GB%, 3.87 FIP
Dave’s Projection: 200 IP, 190 H, 30 2B, 5 3B, 20 HR, 44 BB, 196 K, 10 HBP, 60% GB%, 3.35 FIP
Jeff’s Projection: 203 IP, 193 H, 38 2B, 3 3B, 20 HR, 60 BB, 189 K, 4 HBP, 61% GB%, 3.56 FIP
Quick note – there’s actually two projections with a higher FIP than Gomez’s 3.87 (Trev is the highest at 3.99) but both of them project very low hit totals, so while they’re slightly more pessimistic about Felix’s abilities, they apparently thinks our defense is going to be amazing. Thus, I couldn’t in good conscience call them pessimistic projections, so Gomez gets the Nattering Nabob of Negativity award of the day.
One of the first things that jump off the page is the similarity of all the projections. No one projects a FIP higher than 4.00 and only seven people project a FIP below 3.00, leading to a large group of people all hovering right around the average projection without much variance. When people disagree, they do it in shades; a dozen strikeouts here or ten innings there. Interestingly, the optimists and pessimists mostly just differ on home run rate in small magnitudes, ranging from 15 allowed for the optimists and 22 for the pessimists. As we’ve talked about, home run rates have a lot of non-pitcher factors involved, so a lot of the difference here isn’t even disagreements about Felix’s abilities, but rather just how those abilities will translate over 35 starts.
Again, no one thinks he’s going to get hurt – the low IP projection was 175 innings, with the second lowest being 189. So you all think Felix is going to be a picture of health. That’s good news.
Overall, this is another optimistic projection, though not as extreme as Bedard’s. The 3.35 FIP will make Felix an easy all-star, but the hit projections mean that you guys think he’s still going to struggle with balls in play, and that makes it unlikely that he’ll post an ERA low enough to get in the Cy Young race, especially if Bedard’s as good as you all think. However, this projection still represents a strong step forward and would establish Felix as one of the game’s elite pitchers rather than just elite talents.