Friday, April 26, 2013

The King Hits 100

by Jackson Safon

On Monday Felix Hernandez became the third pitcher in Mariners history (Jamie Moyer and Randy Johnson) to get 100 wins. First I would like to say congratulations to him because this is a really great accomplishment, especially pitching for a team that has had consistently terrible offensive production throughout his career. He achieved this accomplishment against the Astros in a game where the Mariners provided him with seven runs, an unbelievably high amount considering how inept the Mariners offense has been recently. It always seems like Felix gets the least run support out of all of the Mariner’s starters. Whenever Felix hits any sort of milestone in wins, it always gets me thinking how many he could have if the Mariners offense wasn’t so terrible. His career high in wins is 19, but besides that season, he has never had more than 14. Considering Felix has almost always been a top five pitcher in the American League, it is crazy how few wins he has. He is always towards the top of the list in strikeouts, ERA, WHIP, K/9 innings, and basically every statistical category other than wins, which makes you realize how bad his run support must be. I have no doubt that if he was on a team with a halfway decent offense or better, he would have many more wins and probably a few more Cy Young awards as well.

Felix Hernandez has had an exceptional season thus far, but as is the norm, he has not received substantial run support from the offense.
Ben Margot / The Associated Press

To prove how good Felix’s stats are, we are going to play a little game called player A vs. player B. To do this we simply use stats to decide which player we would prefer as opposed to the perception of the public.

Player A: 15-6, 3.38 ERA, 197 K’s, 1.14 WHIP

Player B: 13-9, 3.06 ERA, 223 K’s, 1.14 WHIP

Player C: 17-8, 2.64 ERA, 239 K’s, 1.06 WHIP

I think it is obvious that the best of the three pitchers is player C, who happens to be Justin Verlander. Second best would be player B who is King Felix, and the third of the three is player A, who is C.C. Sabathia. Few would say argue against Verlander being the best pitcher in baseball, but as Felix’s numbers show, he isn’t all that far behind. The biggest disparity for Felix against all other pitchers and therefore his biggest obstacle in winning the Cy Young, is wins. However, this shouldn’t be held against him, because it isn’t really his fault. The Mariners have had a consistently terrible offense throughout the entirety of Felix’s time in Seattle, while teams like the Yankees and Tigers have been towards the top of the league in terms of run support. I have no doubt that if Felix was pitching for the Tigers, Yankees, or any other team with an average or above average offense, his win total would skyrocket.

At this point, Felix is the second highest paid pitcher in baseball and I would argue that he is the second best pitcher in baseball. It is disappointing that it has taken him this long to hit 100 wins because our offense has been so terrible, but it is still a great accomplishment and the biggest congratulations go out to him from us. In short, Seattle loves Felix, and they go to great lengths to show it, but I still think his greatness is under appreciated and hitting a milestone like this is a great time to show our gratitude. Thank you Felix for all you do, and thank you for being a Mariner for life.

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