Some Things About Felix Are Pretty Ridiculous


Q.  Why does everybody say that Felix can't throw a straight pitch?

A.  Well, A-Gone doesn't say it.  He says that Felix' fastball is pleasantly straight.  


But!  You're an SSI reader, and you're aware that Felix' changeup truly does have "outlier" movement to it.  Nobody else throws this dry spitter, which is both higher-velo and sharper-breaking than any other change in baseball.

Felix' overhand curve has a lot of break and it is verrrrrry sharp break.

Felix' 86 slider has more break than average for a slider, AND it is thrown harder.  It F/X's out with a shape like an Allen wrench.

More to the point, Felix threw 4 separate strikeout pitches -- now 5 -- all breaking in different ways.  You can describe that general situation with "It seems that Felix can't throw a straight pitch."  Nobody else had such command of three different wipeout breaking pitches, and now here's the cutter.


I oppose the current characterization of his 4-seam fastball movement, for the very simple reason that it's not true.  It never was.  In the booth they say his fastball has ridiculous movement.  Down on the field, meanwhile, they pray for those straight fastballs.


Q.  Semantics aside, what are the ramifications of this new pitch?

A.  Felix' fastball used to be his Achilles' heel.  Now it's probably his greatest strength - or will be as long as he continues to deploy the cutting movement that Adrian Gonzalez confirmed.

For his career, Felix' fastball has the lowest run value of all his pitches.  There have been years - notably his first two years, and last year - when batters organized their at-bats around crushing a nice, straight Felix heater.


So you present the hitter with a new situation:  Felix' fastball is no longer his worst pitch, but his best.  Might want to try to get yourself a changeup/dry spitter and see what you can do with that, meat.

I dunno.  What are the ramifications of that?  Of turning your Achilles' heel into your most feared weapon?  ... Roger Clemens went to Toronto at age 33, added a forkball (or, "two-seam fastball with ridiculous movement") and went from a 130 ERA+ pitcher to a 220+ ERA pitcher.  Maybe Felix is about to rip off six Cy Youngs now.  

Call it a Felixball, call a cutter, call it a foshball, call it anything you want but don't call it less than 25 times per ballgame.  As Mariano could tell you, cut fastballs at 93 MPH?  That'll work.


Dr D



ghsot's picture

Recently, Felix said that the key to his turnaround and increased velocity was to turn his body less in the wind-up. Note that his last three starts, his average fastball velo has gone up from 92 to 93.5.
Now...I seem to recall a struggling Felix from a few years back who suddenly realized that when he twisted MORE, he got better deception and better results and ripped off 25 straight QSs. Or am I hallucinating? At this point...I'm calling bull on that twisty explanation in both cases...I think it's like breathing through your eyelids.

EA's picture

That sixth inning was painful. Every pitch was coming in 90-93 and the O's just softly hit line drives up the middle. The movement doesn't mean much if Felix isn't going to throw something truly offspeed. The O's eventually homed in on the speed and got 4 runs off of pepper swings.

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