Q. What does HQ expect from Felix in 2018?
A. They've got him for 11-8, 3.91 with 8.1 strikeouts and 2.9 walks. I'll take it, bro. The 160 innings they glibly schedule, that's a hedge. He's as likely as the next guy to give you 27-30 starts. On the one hand, he's got high mileage. On the other, he recruits his big muscles and decelerates perfectly. I'll take it.
In their draft guide they've got him in the group #46-95, which group also includes Lance McCullers, Sonny Gray, Alex Cobb, and Johnny Cueto. They're factoring in REL(iability) and everything else.
On BJOL's starting pitcher rankings he has fallen to #60 overall, by definition a 2-3 SP if you cut the group up among 30 ballclubs.
Q. Is Felix as good as he was in 2014, when he was worth $46M with a 2.14 ERA?
A. We will assume that ==below this line== the Denizens have oriented themselves. We are not asking, is Felix a superstar. He is not. "King Felix (TM)" is past tense. It's time to ask different questions about the man. We are asking, is Felix better than Ariel Miranda and Marco Gonales, and if so, BY HOW MUCH is he better. ...than a fringe pitcher.
The spoiler answer to that is: Felix is (in the 'Frame's crunch, anyway) worth plenty more than a fringe pitcher. Plenty with a capital P. Fangraphs had him for only $3M worth of bases last year and $8M the year before that, but I'd give you 4 x $13M for him right now, or 3 x $15. All day long.
Q. Speaking of which, how much dinero are the M's shedding on its Felix deal? Does his contract, in retrospect, argue against MegaDeals?
A. It does not, no. Felix gave the M's a shade the better of a hometown contract in 2013 when he signed for 7 x $25M, importantly including a clause in which the M's got a free year off an elbow injury. He earned $42.3M in the first year of that deal, $46.4M the year after, and $23.1M in 2015. He has thus earned $131.1M in the first five years of the $175M deal, with two years of pay-to-play remaining.
It says here that he will finish at around $175M in performance delivered, but let's say he finishes at $152M. That's an argument that a $175M bet was irrational? Of course it isn't.
Anti-megadeal talking heads will clutch their pearls and point to ANY underperformance, let's say a 92% of contract delivered performance, as a Greek Tragedy. Dr. D absolutely will not. Felix is a Mt. Rushmore icon in Seattle, with a yellow-card King's Court section unlike any other in sports, and we'll tell you something else. We estimate with a 60%, 70% coefficient of confidence that Felix will perform well in 2018-19, significantly better than he did in 2016 and especially than he did in 2017. Not to the tune of a 2.14 ERA, of course, but to then point where he flips out quality starts with regularity, enough regularity to get Denizens smiling at Happy Felix Day again.
Q. Based on what FACTS, cadet?
A. True, his fastball has been quite minus lately. But he's got a very plus curve ball; with that curve alone he's a major league pitcher. His slider had a +2.15 run value to it last year. His dry spitter got mush enough last year to drop from the +2 area to the =0.00 type area (it was actually -0.36 but Dr. D puts that down to randomness). You are talking about a pitcher with 8+ strikeouts and 2+ walks, a combination true of only 8 pitchers in the American League. Is 'cause that's how good Felix' bendy pitches really are. That's the fact.
Felix has three separate tough secondary pitches and his biggest problem in 2017 really was missing over the plate, mushy COMMAND as opposed to lack of stuff. It sez here that with no WBC and with a series of 168 and then 86 IP seasons, we could very easily see plenty of "crispness" return to his overall command of the ball.
But even if it doesn't, you're looking at his giving you 1-2 WAR -- plus what he gives the Seattle Mariners Brand. There are a whale of a lot of guys who won't give you any of that stuff.
Q. Leaving us where?
A. We don't quote HQ directly very often; here's their summary on Felix. Buy their book at this location.
Has been shell of former self for a while now, but after posting zero RAR, might be downgraded to ghost. With April groin tightness and two bouts of shoulder bursitis, it's possible he didn't pitch a single healthy inning all year. BPV, CMD rebounds suggest there's still life in his skills, just not enough for a fuill recovery. BID: $10 (Cf. Sonny Gray at $9)
Dr's Prognosis: Felix isn't going to win any more Cy Youngs, that is for blinkin' sure. But the next two years give you a real shot at a moderately TOR pitcher and, with that offspeed set, a bankable average-solid SP.