M's 3, Rays 0
Cruz rains death on Rays, rays


On May 10th, Dr. D advised the M's to play easier teams.  As usual, they nodded and implemented my recommendation.  Since then okay!, okay! since roughly then or thereabouts, they ripped off a 6-3 homestand against OAK, SDP and BOS.  They followed this with a 6-3 road trip against ... I dunno, teams way East that aren't the Yankees.


Chip shot on Felix' complete-game shutout, then.  Wednesday he threw 30 (?!) fastballs and sinkers, 44 changeups/dry spitters, and 23 curve balls.  This would be an odd ratio even it were not set as a bookend against Taijuan's and K-Pax's games.

Here is the movment chart, courtesy of Brooks Baseball.  The chart below is from the catcher's POV.  If Felix were throwing in a vacuum, with no air resistance to curve the ball, everything would have hit the crosshairs in the middle.



Notice the largest clump of squares, clustering (pitcher's) armside there on the left, and swirling around the 0" mark.  The ones that fell below 0, we are told, were thrown 89 MPH with FORWARD spin.  Nobody has ever explained to Dr. D how this can occur; nor have they explained it to the enemy battersk.

Felix has become so methodical in his 7 IP, 2 ER type outings that it defies a good quip.  Suffice it to say, Dr. D never liked Felix the way he has liked Pineda, Lincecum, Paxton, Chris Archer, etc.  From the very first, Felix has been a technician.  Technique is boring.  It's winning, but it's boring.

You'll never see a movie where the hero just lines the bad guys up and shoots them in the head.  Well, you won't see it from George Lucas.


Nelson Cruz' three-run shot was hit "the other way," to right-center field, and was named Metaphor of the Week as it screamed into a saltwater tank and powerbombed a flotilla of "rays."  If I'm not mistaken, those are the two HR's that BoxBurger has coughed up this season?  Cruz' and Seager's?

Fun facts with Nellie.  Run to Fangraphs > Hitters > Value and you'll see that under their (dogmatic) view of the world, Cruz has so far in May this year earned $15.2M of his $57M four-year deal.  

When teams do give out four-year $60M deals, that's kind of the idea:  hope the guy earns $20, then $15, then $12, then $9.  LrKrBoi just added that and noted it doesn't quite come out to $60.  But then LrKr should also look up "Net Present Value."

:: smacks head :: tepid attempt at snark aside, teams do figure that they're paying for the first half of the contract, and getting the rest as gravy.  Nellie is providing quite the example, especially if he keys an M's run to a $75M postseason.


Under WPA, Cruz is now at a laughable +3.94.  That's 4 wins he has added to his team's W expectation compared to average.  Not compared to a benchie "Replacement Level Player."  Compared to the average AL baseball player, say, David Freese or Jed Lowrie.  The "average" AL player's team is winning .500 already.

Seager and Cano have chipped in close to another +2 WPA between them.  After that, the rest of the M's position players have combined for -4.5 WPA.  It's a whale of a contest:  the Scrubs battling the Stars to a bloody standoff.

+3.94 leads the American League in win probability added.  After Cruz' +3.94, there are then five National Leaguers between +3.5 and +2.5, and then next is Josh Donaldson at +2.46.  There is no other American Leaguer with two WPA.


Dr D





Wasn't it Burt Hooten who threw the Knuckle Curve, a weird/hybrid pitch reputed to have overspin?  You can throw a wicked one with a ping pong ball, by the way; give it a try!
Except Hooten's offering floated up there at 75 MPH, or something like that.  It certainly didn't look and smell like a 93 MPH fastball about to gobble up the black.
Methodical, monotonous, murderous, masterful.   Hmmmmmmm?  Maddux?
Felix the Seaver has morphed (over time) right-before-our-eyes into Felix the Bulldog   (nee Maddux).
Maddux's best two back-to-back seasons were his age 28 and 29 ones ('94-'95).  He was at .9 and .8 WHIP in those two seasons, giving up 6.5 hits/9, 1.2 BB's and 7.4 K's.
Felix, now in his age 29 season, has a WHIP of just over .9 in '14/'15, 6.4 hits/9, 1.8 BB's and 9.3 K's.
Both of them live, pitch after pitch, in places and at paces that batter don't hit very hard....to say the least.
In terms of style, Felix reminds me more of Maddux every day....


I was thinking exactly the same thing. Especially Maddux's ability to throw a double play ball essentially at will. 10 more years of Greg Maddux? I'll take that, yes please!


Lookout landing referenced a statistic called "The Maddux".  I had to google that.  It is a complete game shutout while using less than 100 pitches.  Apparently, Felix is the youngest pitcher to ever throw a Maddux. 
The Maddux is characterized by absolute cruelty.  There is a poker axiom that you can milk an opponent forever, but can take his shirt only once.  The logic is, that after a fleecing, the opponent stops playing with you.  You can only trash a guy so badly before a friendly game is no longer friendly.  Felix has long passed that point with the Rays.  The Rays have a career .508 OPS against Felix.  This is the second lowest of any AL team (Twinks at .483 is the lowest).  He threw the perfecto against the Rays.  Yesterday, he trashed their best pitcher on their best pitcher's best day.  He beaned a player after the previous batter had attempted a bunt, just to get a double play.  He singlehandedly won the ballgame and showed himself ready to throw an extra inning or two afterwards.  He extended the Rays slump, even after Herculean efforts were made to thwart him.
If a pitcher is owning a team, then that team at least has the bullpen to look forward to.  The old formula is to stall out the starter, get to the bullpen, and get somebody different.  If a team can't at least do that, then there is no point in even playing.  It is a state of being completely overmatched, like trying to wrestle a bear.  The only sensible thing to do is not to get into the ring.
There is no saving face for the Rays, only humiliation and defeat.  Felix has completely trashed their franchise.  There is nothing left to do but pick up the shattered pieces, build a net for the stingray tank, and try to play baseball against somebody else.
If Felix is going to consistenly do the things that Maddux was known for, then the comparison is apt.


...he is developing Greg Maddux-like command. His career, thus far, has tracked more closely with Tom Terrific, but he's morphing into the Venezuelan AutoMaddux now.


I remember when he was acquired by the Dodgers from the Cubs for Eddie Solomon and Geoff Zahn. He was a key addition in 1975 that helped carry the team to the outstanding success it reached in 1977 and 1978. I watched him befuddle many an NL batter. He was a Texas good ol' boy through and through, but a soft-spoken one.

IcebreakerX's picture

I love watching Felix, but a part of me wonders if the M's held him back from being all-universe. I mean, he's good, but the King moniker is kinda inconsistent with the hype he'd come up with; 97 FB with a deadly SL and CV, etc.
I'm glad we have him, and maybe the M's saved him from becoming a Verlander, but it makes me wonder...

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