Why I Think Felix Hernandez Is The Best Pitcher In The World

Every so often, there’s a debate about who’s the best pitcher in baseball. Or, who is the best in each league, i.e. who should start the All-Star Game. Today on the old radio, there was a debate about who would you want to pitch in a one-game World Series. The debate eventually became Roy Halladay vs. Tim Lincecum, but I can’t ever help like Timmy has a home field advantage out here in Northern California. Obviously, he’s one of the best pitchers in the game. On most occasions that I’ve seen him pitch, he’s been dominant. On the other hand, I’ve seen him look extremely mortal at times. He’s prone to the occasional blowup. Halladay, however, never seems to give up any more than 4 runs in a game – and that’s when he’s off. Granted, I probably have a bit smaller sample size when it comes to Roy, but I probably see arguably his more important games. Though I will concede that Lincecum is usually solid in the big games as well.

There’s one guy, though, that I always consider to be one of the top two pitchers in baseball that no one really ever seems to bring up until you get to the top 5 or 10. Ever since the first time I saw him pitch when

he was 19, he’s been as good, if not better, than anyone else I’ve seen in the last decade. That guy is Felix Hernandez. The more the debates rage on, the more I wonder why you never hear his name as much as the other guys. Part of it, I’m sure, has to do with him playing under the radar up in Seattle for a non-contender. But then I started thinking about sample size, and what it might have to do with my favorable view of King Felix. Perhaps it’s the result of playing well against the A’s. Since the Mariners are never playing in important games, the majority of times I’ve seen him pitch had to have come against my team. Sure enough, I compared the numbers, and Hernandez’s are better across the board against the A’s than his career numbers. He has an 11-4 career record against the A’s, compared to a career mark of 79-60 overall. Two of the four losses against Oakland came in the disastrous 2006 campaign, in which the A’s rode an impressive 19-2 record against the M’s to an ALCS berth. Over the years though, he’s had the A’s number. I put together this log of his career starts against Oakland, and it reads pretty impressive. The thing that stood out to me is 5 of his 20 starts resulted in 7 or more innings of shutout ball. Just knowing that 1 out of every 4 times a guy takes the mound will result in a shutout is pretty impressive in my book. He may not even be on the level of CC or Verlander, but to me, Felix is King.

W 7.0 4 0 1 5 0.00
7.0 8 3 0 5 1.93
L 5.0 2 1 4 4 1.89
L 4.0 11 5 2 4 3.52
W 8.0 3 0 2 12 2.61
W 8.0 2 0 2 2 2.08
W 7.0 7 1 2 7 1.97
W 5.0 7 3 4 3 2.29
W 9.0 8 1 1 8 2.10
L 7.0 6 4 4 10 2.42
W 6.0 4 3 2 7 2.59
L 8.0 6 2 1 8 2.56
5.0 7 5 2 8 2.93
W 7.2 7 2 4 4 2.88
6.2 3 3 6 4 2.96
6.0 11 3 2 6 3.05
W 8.0 5 0 1 13 2.83
W 9.0 5 2 0 5 2.77
W 7.2 4 0 3 8 2.61
8.0 4 1 0 10 2.53
11-4 137.6 114 39 43 133 2.53    Totals

About mceezy

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7 responses to “Why I Think Felix Hernandez Is The Best Pitcher In The World

  • tophatal

    In terms of what Felix has achieved in the last couple of seasons you’d be foolish to state the contrary. But more often than not it’s all about the immediacy of the here and now . In the AL at present for me four players simply stand out above everyone else ! And they are in no discerning order Weaver , Sabathia , Verlander and Felix Hernanadez. Can you imagine what his stats might be like were playing for say either the Red Sox , Yankees or Rays for that matter ?

    They may well have the second best team ERA in the AL in terms of pitching and that’s impressive to say the least but the Mariners simply aren’t about winning because their owners have never been that ambitious !

  • JW

    There’s on component missing in the comparison – what would Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, and Felix Hernandez do if they pitched with more run support? Roy Halladay gets to pitch a lot with a lead, and any baseball guy can tell you what an advantage that is.

    • mceezy

      I suppose you’re right. I always gave Halladay credit for succeeding in Toronto for all those years, but maybe run support wasn’t really an issue for him there either. It was just that the Blue Jays lost every game the other four starters pitched!

  • chappy81

    He does dominate the A’s. If Seattle ever gets some hitters Pineda and him will be even more scary. One thing I’ve always liked about Felix is he always throws over 110 pitches. Seems rare these days even if its an ace… Its also scary how young he is.

  • classic17

    I looked up some of the others guys’ stats against the A’s.

    Verlander: 4-5, 3.00 ERA (not bad, but the W-L isn’t good, obviously)
    Halladay: 7-4, 4.19 ERA (Only has a higher ERA against Texas, Boston, and LAA. min 10 starts)
    Cliff Lee: 6-3, 2.45 ERA
    CC Sabathia: 7-8, 5.03 ERA (highest ERA of all AL teams except…the Yankees.)
    Beckett: 5-3, 4.42 ERA
    Weaver: 4-6, 3.02

    It’s kind of funny that only one guy has an ERA lower than his career AND a winning record (Lee). Granted, I don’t know what it would look like if I did this for any AL team but I’ll bet the A’s fans would take this record against some of the top pitching in baseball.

    By the way, the cumulative stats are 83 games started, 534 IP, 33-29 and a 3.78 ERA. Take out Cliff Lee and it goes up to 71 GS, 453 IP, 27-26, 4.01 ERA. Not what I expected.

    • Mceezy

      Wow! That’s awesome stuff! I would’ve thought each of those guys would all be 8-1 with an 0.98 era against the futile offense that is the A’s. Guess that’s further proof as to why Felix looks immortal to me.

    • chappy81

      If only we could figure out how to hit the “bad” pitchers, then we’d be okay!

      I’m pretty surprised on Weaver’s 4-6 record. It seems like he almost always dominates us…

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