The Fall of Felix Hernandez
The King is dead! The King is dead! No, not really but his career may be.
It sucks to see but after his latest dud against the Texas Rangers, Felix Hernandez is on the brink of being kicked out of the Seattle Mariners rotation.
Hernandez, now 32, has certainly been on the decline the past few seasons. His ERA has risen every year since 2014, ballooning up to 5.73 in 2018.
Hernandez was supposed to be the leader of a Mariners pitching staff that would go deep into the playoffs but now he has become a liability for a team fighting for the postseason.
So what’s happened to King Felix? Well his velocity has decreased significantly as his fastball is averaging 89.2 mph while he was throwing it at 92.4 in 2014 (fangraphs). That goes for every other pitch in his arsenal as well, which has led hitters to have a 39.5% hard contact rate against him (a career high). This is most likely due to the fact that he has already pitched over 2,600 MLB innings.
Felix was once one of the best prospects, then pitchers in the entire MLB. He has accolades that so many have wished to accomplish. He has a CY Young award, 6 All-Star appearances, and 2 ERA titles.
He was one of the few pitchers in baseball that people would actually go to the ballpark to watch. Mariner fans would sit in the “King’s Court” hoping to see something special like a perfect game (something Hernandez accomplished in 2012).
Going back to this year, the Mariners can’t keep him in their rotation. The Oakland A’s have overtaken them for the second wild-card spot and if they M’s really want to get back to the postseason, they can’t keep sending Hernandez out to the hill.
The only reason they still are is because of what he has done in the past. He literally has the second worst ERA among qualified starters, only trailing Lucas Giolito of the Chicago White Sox. Whatever Seattle decides to do, it doesn’t look like Hernandez’s career is going to end with him riding off into the sunset.
-Jarrod Ribaudo (@Jribs53)