HAIL FELIX, KING OF INNINGS EATERS
He went six shutout ... with only two whiffs. Question, estimable Dr. Detecto: is Felix now a innings chomper de luxe?
Answer, fair denizen: no, he's not. Innings eaters are ex-aces, true. Like Mark Buehrle, Jered Weaver*, and their ilk. They've lost their fastballs, true. But they run their league-average ERA's based on smoke, mirrors, 0-1 counts and Voros McCracken's quantum theory.
Felix is still well able to attack batters and put them onto their back foots. ... where is Zum-Bro' when you need a grammar checker ... He's lost the fastball but still has a 10% swing and miss rate.
Blowers said, as Dr. D has many times, "I'm not worried." Meaning, worried about the next five years. Blow gave the following reasons, which we'll kibitz at will:
"As long as he has his changeup" - read, an equalizing pitch, a weapon that is in the batter's head, one that keeps batters honest and "reading" the pitch rather than cheating on it.
"He never gives in" - if it is 3-and-1 the hitter doesn't get to load up. Felix will still aim for the black (ANY black) and if he walks you he walks you. Note Felix' 3.96 walk rate this year as he makes his career transition.
"He's such a smart pitcher" - the batter stays in a frustrated state of mind, as opposed to an attacking state of mind.
As a result of all this, Felix on a LUKEWARM day is a #2 starter I'll take any time. And when he's got his fastball location, his changeup spitting, and his yakker, he's still easily an Opening Day starter. His FIP is 4.40 this year, so a casual FanGraphs editor would warn you off for 2017, but 4.40 is not where he triangulates next year.
There was an old Bill James abstract ... a team asked him what he thought about some Chris Bosio type or other. James had three levels of a tower that existed only on the ground floor for others:
FLOOR 1 - Yes, he's not what he used to be
FLOOR 2 - Pitchers go through career transitions
FLOOR 3 - In this particular case, the pitcher will probably come out the other side very successfully
And that's what occurred.
I like this Felix Hernandez. In a way I like him better than the old Felix, maybe because of adopt-a-pitcher syndrome :- )
1.0 perfect innings Saturday in an 11-run blowout. There has been something going on here, throughout the season, that is beyond my perception. I'd be amused to know what it was. Why no starts for a perfectly decent AL rotation lefty, 4.03 lifetime ERA, when you're giving starts to Cody Martin, Joe Weiland, and Adrian Sampson?
In the Bavasi and Hargrove days the answer would have been very, very simple; the GM believed in him, but the field manager thought the player was a joke. As with Shin-Soo Choo and Roberto Petagine, for example.
In the DiPoto and Servais days? I haven't a clue. If (let's say) internal F/X, and/or his gopheritis, says that Nuno can't pitch too good. Why was he the one and only arm who was --- > on the roster the entire time? I couldn't care less what it IS that happened with Vidal Nuno in 2016. It's just that when somebody writes "The Bronx Zoo" clubhouse story in 30 years, the hidden story on Nuno will probably be an entertaining bit of the book.