So, uh, that Felix kid

Dave · April 28, 2009 at 8:30 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

He’s not bad. 73 of 100 pitches for strikes… and he got screwed by a ridiculous strike zone at times. Take a look at the Pitch F/x strike zone data from tonight’s game:


Two green squares in the upper central area show balls that are, for all intents and purposes, right down the middle and below the belt. Five more on the lower line that are borderline are balls, as are two that are just a fraction outside and are usually called strikes. He threw 73% strikes on a night where the strikezone was smaller than usual. Yea. All hail the king.

Also, I wonder what the probability of Branyan and Betancourt combining to go nine for nine (to start with, I know Yuni finally made an out) in a game started by John Danks was. We could take a crude stab at it with a binomial distribution and a guess at their combined “true average” against this particular medley of pitchers… ah, heck, why not.

Nine hits in nine at-bats for hitters with a .260 true talent batting average, the odds of it happening are .000005. That would be one in every 200,000 or so. So, yea, don’t count on ever seeing that again.

I love that one of the excuses for still carrying 12 pitchers is that cold weather in April can force you into unexpected doubleheaders which burn through the pen quickly… and the bullpen threw one inning.

Also, on the heels of my “I like Wak” post from this morning – Chavez starting (and hitting 2nd!) against an LHP while Gutierrez sits on the bench? I get that Endy’s been having better at-bats lately, and that Gutierrez looked bad on some hacks in the first game, but if you want to get Gutierrez’s bat going, let him build up some confidence by whacking lefties. And Chavez isn’t exactly still on fire; going into the second game, he was 8 for 36 with a .592 OPS in his last 10 games. We knew the Chavez hot streak wasn’t going to last, and it hasn’t – he shouldn’t be playing over Gutierrez against an LHP unless there’s an injury or something.

In reality, it’s time for the M’s to start giving Chavez a bit less playing time. We’re obviously huge proponents of the new and improved outfield defense, and Chavez should still get the majority of the innings in LF, but it’s okay to pinch-hit for him in high leverage situations, and he shouldn’t be starting against an LHP unless Washburn is on the hill. Everything is a balance – Chavez is a valuable player in certain situations, and in others, the team is better off with Balentien. We’d do well to get back to more of a 70/30 playing time split between Chavez/Balentien, rather than the 95/5 it’s been so far.


46 Responses to “So, uh, that Felix kid”

  1. AuburnM on April 28th, 2009 8:38 pm

    Yeah, we need to score more runs.

    But if we keep getting the level of starting pitching we have gotten in April we will be in this thing all year long.

  2. cdowley on April 28th, 2009 8:59 pm

    Yeah, I was really surprised to see Endy over Guti in game 2… Danks is a good lefty yeah (most nights anyhow), but lefties have been killing Endy and Guti needed a potential confidence-booster.

    Oh well. Wak can’t always make the perfect call I suppose…

  3. Go Felix on April 28th, 2009 9:06 pm

    Honestly, if I were the coach I would have started Endy. He’s really shown up to play this season and he has been a nice surprise with his offensive production. Yes, it makes more sense to start Guti but Endy has been hot for a while.

    I know that goes against the norm here but I believe Endy has earned an everyday starting spot so far. When his numbers fall off in a few weeks or so then that is the time to platoon him with Balentien (who also needs more playing time).

  4. Admiral Adama on April 28th, 2009 9:09 pm

    I agree with you, Auburn. With pitching like this, who needs an offense? Kidding, but it was nice to see the bats in game 2. Hopefully this is the start of something good for Yuni.


    M’s are #s in baseball w/ a .317BA w/RISP. Gotta love that timely hitting. Too bad it wasn’t there for Jako today – he brought his A game.

  5. Admiral Adama on April 28th, 2009 9:09 pm

    meant #2

  6. diderot on April 28th, 2009 9:10 pm

    In the second month of the 2002 season, with the Mariners coming off a 116 win year, I went to a game at Safeco with a lifelong friend then living in Florida…one league and three time zones away. Consequently, he knew about the reputation of the M’s…but had rarely seen them play. In both football and baseball, he is the best natural judge of athletic talent I’ve known.
    About the third time through the lineup, he turned to me and said, ‘you know what? Ichiro is on a different level. But the rest of the lineup? They don’t scare me at all.’
    I was offended. And in one sense he was wrong since Olerud, Boone and Cammie all hit 20 homers that year…even though none of them got past 25. Even with Edgar, the lack of a Junior or ARod to protect him was pretty obvious.
    The 93 wins that year were largely the result of good starting pitching and a very good bullpen. But it got me to thinking about how how often opposing pitchers have to stop and talk to themselves about a ‘dangerous’ hitter at the plate. Not necessarily an all star…but someone who can punish them with a bad pitch. Adam Dunn is maybe the prototype.
    Which leads me to Dave’s comments concerning Gutierrez, Endy, etc. I really appreciate what these guys bring. But one of the disappointing aspects of this season, no matter how it turns out in the won-loss column, would be the lost opportunity to find out if either Balentien or Clement could turn into a guy in the lineup who other pitchers have to stop and think about.
    I would hate to see us give up on either one too soon…only to let another team find out the answer.

  7. Breadbaker on April 28th, 2009 9:17 pm

    The second month of the 2002 season, Edgar’s on the DL, Ruben Sierra is the DH.

    I do think Balentien deserves more playing time and certainly he’s done nothing in the field or at bat this season to dispell that notion.

  8. Dave on April 28th, 2009 9:19 pm

    Yes, it makes more sense to start Guti but Endy has been hot for a while.

    How long does he have to hit like Endy Chavez before you realize he isn’t “hot” anymore?

    Seriously, a week and a half of bad hitting isn’t enough for you? We have several years of evidence that Chavez is a bad hitter. He got good results for 10 games, and has gotten bad results for 11 games. Based on that, you want to play him everyday?

    I’m sorry, but that’s stupid.

  9. PositivePaul on April 28th, 2009 9:25 pm

    I wonder if Gutz’ eye infection hasn’t gone away yet – if that’s the reason why he missed the second game.

    Kudos to Branyan for showing he can hit the occasional lefty! Hard even!

  10. DAMellen on April 28th, 2009 9:30 pm

    At the very least, can we not bat him second? I don’t love playing him every second of every game, but if it has to happen, shouldn’t he bat after everybody but Rob Johnson?

  11. wrob4343 on April 28th, 2009 9:31 pm

    I had to work tonight, and only got to catch a little bit of the game. With Felix hitting like that and Yuni showing up with that big bat of his I didn’t mind missing the greater portion of the game.

    I know you cant teach talent, but it would be nice if the King could teach some of his teammates/subjects that variation he has brought to the table this year…

  12. msb on April 28th, 2009 9:33 pm

    and he got screwed by a ridiculous strike zone at times

    I know we whine about this a lot (ok, I do) but doesn’t it seem as though the strike zone has been particularly erratic so far this season?

  13. henryv on April 28th, 2009 9:37 pm

    Wanna see something sick?

    [long link]

    I mean, the whole performance was f—ing insane!

    His curve dropped 11 inches compared to his fastball. And he didn’t hang a single curveball.

    And on top of that, he only got 1 call out of the strike zone.. the entire game.

    Freaking insane.

  14. DAMellen on April 28th, 2009 9:38 pm

    Oh, hey how was the pitch mixing? The results rocked, but if there’s one think you’ve told us time and time again, it’s that the results shouldn’t be our main concern. So how was the pitch mixing?

  15. smb on April 28th, 2009 9:45 pm

    Starting Chavez made no sense. Also, it’s time to give Felix a key to the city and an ownership stake. Anything less and he’s probably in pinstripes as I repeat over and over how I wish I knew how to quit you, Mariners.

  16. CMC_Stags on April 28th, 2009 9:47 pm


    use the link button please.

    1) type in the word(s) you want to link
    2) highlight the word(s)
    3) click on the link button
    4) enter the URL in the pop-up window and click OK

    Chart of Felix’s performance

  17. Milendriel on April 28th, 2009 9:51 pm

    It is nice, though, that Balentien got the start in LF with a groundball pitcher going for us. Kudos to Wak for that.

  18. henryv on April 28th, 2009 10:09 pm

    My apologies. Never used that system before.

  19. Breadbaker on April 28th, 2009 10:14 pm

    Also, it’s time to give Felix a key to the city and an ownership stake.

    I would like to have “Felix” replace “Safeco Field” in that ad with the hot-sounding woman.

  20. Go Felix on April 28th, 2009 10:17 pm

    I’m sorry, but that’s stupid.

    Maybe, but this season is stupid. There is no reason the M’s should be in first place right now but they are. If it keeps up, which I think it will (oh no, not the optimist) because of the condition of the division we’re in, then this season is a statistical anomaly.

    Starting Endy over Gutierrez tonight? Wouldn’t have mattered.

  21. Daniel Carroll on April 28th, 2009 10:28 pm

    I assume that one red one on the lower right of the strike zone was a swinging one, or else the zone was indeed absolutely ridiculous tonight.

    Actually, was that the check-swing strike?

  22. DAMellen on April 28th, 2009 10:32 pm

    It’s not about if it would’ve mattered tonight. It’s about the process. Come on, people. Do you even read this site?

  23. Go Felix on April 28th, 2009 11:04 pm

    I read this site everyday. I’m just in disbelief right now. Sorry.

  24. henryv on April 28th, 2009 11:07 pm

    Do you even read this site?

    Read? Ha! We’re not professors!

    Well, I used to be, but I got laid off in winter.

    Actually, was that the check-swing strike?

    Felix’s pitch results

    It doesn’t say… However, it was definitely a swinging strike, and the strike zone for Felix was about 90% of its full size, about. But it was shrunk for Chicago, as well.

  25. Bodhizefa on April 28th, 2009 11:08 pm

    For the life of me, I’m still not quite sure why we haven’t locked Felix up to a lengthy extension. Out of all the players we’ve paid boatloads of cash in the last five years, we’ve chosen to play hardball with the only talented guy of the bunch. We can afford tens of million per year for the likes of Silva or Washburn or eight million per for Batista or Kenji, and we’re going to go to the mattresses with Felix of all players? If he’s not signed longterm by the outset of next season, I may scratch my eyes out with Junior’s rookie Upperdeck card.

  26. joser on April 28th, 2009 11:16 pm

    Drayer, talking to Felix about his ankle:

    The ankle was iced at the end of the game and again he said that it hurt. He did admit however that it may actually help him. It may help him not get to wild in his windup. In his head he knows that it will hurt and he may be favoring it a bit. In turn, he may have a bit more control. Interesting.

    Apparently during his last appearance Beltre joked that he may come out with a bat and bang Felix on his ankle every start….

  27. egreenlaw9 on April 28th, 2009 11:22 pm

    He’s not signed yet because his agent isn’t stupid. Felix will get his money in arbitration whether the M’s want to do it or not.

    In arbitration, I find it hard to see him getting less than $10M/year. So, two years of that, then he gets to become the highest paid pitcher in baseball.

    Unless the M’s stepped up to him with something like the Yanks gave CC, I think he’d be stupid to take it.

    (Yes, I get that he could get injured and lose all of it, but still, to buy out that risk – less than a year really with those arb numbers – you would still have to give up something close to Sabathia’s contract)

  28. henryv on April 28th, 2009 11:39 pm

    No agent would ever, ever, ever let Felix not enter the free agent market. I mean, the Yankees are STILL the Yankees. They will still offer a 900 year contract at 100 bazillion per year.

    Big timers like Felix never lose by entering the free agent market. Well, nearly never.

    And unless the financial dynamics of baseball change (salary cap or Yankees, Boston, LAD, and ChC all move to Delaware) Felix is going to cost someone a lot of money, and they can all start bidding in November of 2011.

    And I’ll cry for at least a whole month.

  29. henryv on April 28th, 2009 11:57 pm

    Something interesting in the post-game on the radio:

    Yuni saw 6 pitches in his first at bat.

    It was the most he had seen all season… He swung at 4 of them. BUT, all of the ones he swung at WERE strikes!

    Will miracles never cease?

  30. DAMellen on April 29th, 2009 12:36 am

    Oh my God. Felix on the Yankees. Too horrible to imagine. I mean, I can’t even fathom how much that would hurt.

  31. truntle on April 29th, 2009 1:08 am

    Here’s to hoping that Felix gives the Mariners a hometown discount in 2011. I would cry endless rivers if he were to ever don a Yankee pinstripe.

  32. Breadbaker on April 29th, 2009 1:11 am

    Felix shouldn’t have to give the M’s a hometown discount. He should be given fair value. The M’s can afford it. They can’t afford not to.

  33. Ron Stevens on April 29th, 2009 1:37 am

    Actually the probability for that 9 for 9,
    is .000005 for those specific hitters;
    there are a total of 36 combinations per team of 2 various
    hitters in a game;that would be 36
    times .000005 for a .00018 for a specific team,or
    .00036 for any team, per game.
    Actually since it could happen for both teams,
    the odds for it happening to either team,is
    a little less than twice the one team possibility .

  34. joser on April 29th, 2009 1:47 am

    Hometown discounts are a myth anyway.

  35. henryv on April 29th, 2009 2:20 am

    Plus, Felix’s hometown team is the Navegantes del Magallanes, so I don’t see him signing for a discounted rate, even there.

  36. wrob4343 on April 29th, 2009 2:24 am

    Hometown discounts are a myth anyway

    … maybe hometown weren’t Valencia I could see you bringing in that argument.

  37. wrob4343 on April 29th, 2009 2:25 am

    I think thats what you were going for henry

  38. henryv on April 29th, 2009 2:29 am

    I think thats what you were going for henry

    Totally. And I fubar’ed it like 11 times before giving up 🙂

  39. Breadbaker on April 29th, 2009 2:35 am

    There can be legitimate reasons for a hometown discount. If you’re deep into the community the way Jamie Moyer was here, or a Mike Sweeney in Kansas City, you might consider it. There is no reason for Felix to give the M’s a hometown discount. He will be the ace wherever he goes and a free agent in his mid-20’s. He’s entitled to what he’s entitled to. The Mariners just have to grin and bear it.

  40. wrob4343 on April 29th, 2009 2:37 am

    Fortunately all I do is spend my time watching mariners games, blogging and editing these days so I got you.

    And as long as Felix doesn’t end up on this list [long link and terrible site to boot] him resigning is exponentially more likely, even it if it is only 20% possible.

  41. Bodhizefa on April 29th, 2009 8:00 am

    No agent would ever, ever, ever let Felix not enter the free agent market.

    So you’re saying Felix’ agent is somehow smarter than Johan Santana’s? Or Evan Longoria’s? Or Albert Pujols’?

    These kind of lock-up deals happen all the time now, and the fact that the M’s didn’t do it while Felix was still scuffling a bit as a youngster is going to cost them tens of millions in the end. Still, this is something that is certainly doable, and has been done numerous times by the very best in baseball. I’m not sure why you think Felix and his agent would somehow be different than the rest of the non-Boras baseball world?

  42. Philly M's fan on April 29th, 2009 8:53 am

    Felix showed why he is the King last night! Couldn’t we use Adam Dunn in LF right now? He is exactly what we need. He has 6 Hrs, 15 RBIs, his OBP is .488, and his SLG .656 and His OPS is 1.144. I know he doesn’t have the greatest glove, but i think his production at the plate would outweigh his defensive liabilities. Plus, Franklin could get a lot of those plays anyway.

  43. Dave on April 29th, 2009 8:59 am

    Adam Dunn, 2009 to date: +0.9 wins
    Endy Chavez, 2009 to date: +0.6 wins

    Seriously, people, get over the fascination of terrible defensive players.

  44. bakomariner on April 29th, 2009 9:34 am

    C’mon Dave…chicks dig the long-ball…

  45. henryv on April 29th, 2009 11:46 am

    These kind of lock-up deals happen all the time now, and the fact that the M’s didn’t do it while Felix was still scuffling a bit as a youngster is going to cost them tens of millions in the end.

    Do you really think that the agent would have allowed Felix to negotiate while struggling?

    Sure, the M’s COULD sign Felix early, for numbers that are similar to what Santana got from the Mets.

    But Seattle isn’t spending that much, at least, not in its current situation.

  46. Bodhizefa on April 29th, 2009 2:45 pm

    So by your standards, henryv, agents should not sign a deal when a youngster is scuffling in his first few years nor should an agent sign a deal when a young player begins to blast off and run with his potential? So, I’m confused. When exactly do you think an agent and his player should sign an extension? Never? By your standards, every player imaginable would go straight to free agency and longterm lock-ups would never happen. Is your name Scott Boras? I think you’re being silly and unrealistic in your assessment, and unless Felix hooks up with Boras this off-season, we’ve still got an excellent chance at signing Felix longterm provided we pony up the cash.

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