Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
May 23, 2006
BASEBALL: Felix Infelicitis

Despite extravagant predictions from some quarters that he would take the AL by storm as Dwight Gooden and Vida Blue did in years gone by, Felix Hernandez has struggled badly, to the tune of a 5.84 ERA. How bad has he really been? The Hardball Times' pitching stats offer a closer look. Hernandez' K numbers have been fine (9.31 K/9), but his walks have been higher than you'd like (3.83 BB/9). He's allowed a ton of homers (1.64 HR/9). His groundball/flyball ratio is good, though not on Lowe/Webb levels, 58.4%, so where are all the homers coming from? 29.2% of his flyballs have left the park, 6 points higher than the next worst in the majors (Brad Radke). Granted, that could partly be a rookie serving too many meatballs, but if he keeps throwing that many grounders, the HR rate will fall. As for balls in play, Hernandez hasn't allowed a particularly high number of line drives, but his defensive support has been appalling, at .646 one of the lowest rates of balls in play turned into outs of any major league pitcher.

Conclusion: yes, Hernandez is struggling with rookie mistakes and control troubles. But all signs still point to a guy who will be a star sooner or later. As long as you didn't overinvest your hopes in young pitcher skipping his growing pains, there's no cause for alarm.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 10:05 PM | Baseball 2006 | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
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