2009 Review: Felix Hernandez

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We’ll be doing individual reviews of just about everyone who played any significant time with the Mariners this year, so I figured I might as well start from the top – and who else could you put at the top, other than the king, sitting up on his throne?

None of you need me to tell you that Felix had an awesome season. I know it, all of you know it, he knows it, his agent knows it, even my mom knows it, and she doesn’t know anything about baseball. But just how good of a season? Well, let’s take a look!

FelixMLB Rank
tRA3.287th
FIP3.099th
ERA2.494th
SO2177th
IP238.23rd
WAR6.85th

He breaks the top nine in arguably all of the most important stats for a starting pitcher. A lot of times, these would be Cy Young worthy numbers. They technically aren’t this year, as Zack Greinke and Justin Verlander both have him beat in the majority of these categories, but he just might end up winning it anyway.

Even if he doesn’t, though, we still have plenty to take away from this 2009 season, when it comes to Felix Hernandez. We no longer have to worry  that he won’t reach his potential – he’s already one of the best pitchers in baseball, and he’s just 23. His stuff is phenomenal, and he’s shown significant improvement in being able to command it, which is a huge step for him. He threw plenty of strikes this year (63.5%), and we’re all aware of the fact that he missed bats like crazy.

Alright, enough about his numbers – if you don’t know that he had a fantastic year by now, you’ll probably never understand it. Perhaps the biggest thing that Felix showed this year, was that he possesses the ability to come up big when we need it. I don’t know the exact number, but we’ve heard it thrown around endlessly all year; his numbers are absolutely incredible in starts coming after Mariners losses. That statistic probably isn’t as telling as watching FSN might make you think, but it does show me that he is ready to take on one of the most important aspects of being a number one; being a stopper.

Having an ace like Felix at the top of your rotation is huge, as he’s often the one thing standing between your team and a long losing streak, and it worked like a charm for the Mariners in 2009. Our longest losing streak of the season was 6 games, and that was way back in May, before Don Wakamatsu’s infamous call out.

So now his 2009 is over, and it was a great one, but was it his last as a Mariner? I hope not, and I really don’t think so, but we’re going to have to wait and see. Felix has repeatedly stated that he loves it in Seattle, and even exclaimed that he’d like to play his entire career here back on Sunday. But if we’ve learned anything here in Seattle, it’s that you can’t put a whole lot of stock in what players say – now, I don’t foresee Felix going the route of A-Rod, but we just can’t know for sure.

Hopefully, we’ll all be hearing Sunshine n’ Lollipops when opening day, 2010 rolls around.

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