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All-Time F.I.P.’er Greats – Update

By popular demand here is an update to the “All-Time F.I.P.’er Greats“.  The last three weeks of the baseball season saw two new additions to the club.  Both coming from the AL West.

The parameters*:

  • 220 strikeouts
  • 4.50 K/BB
  • HR/9 allowed < 0.66

 

Player              Year  SO SO/W  HR9
Jon  Lester          2014 220 4.58 0.66
Corey  Kluber        2014 269 5.27 0.53
Clayton  Kershaw     2014 239 7.71 0.41
Felix  Hernandez     2014 248 5.39 0.61
Roy  Halladay        2011 220 6.29 0.39
Clayton  Kershaw     2011 248 4.59 0.58
Zack  Greinke        2009 242 4.75 0.43
Randy  Johnson       2004 290 6.59 0.66
Mark  Prior          2003 245 4.90 0.64
Pedro  Martinez      2002 239 5.98 0.59
Pedro  Martinez      1999 313 8.46 0.38
Kevin  Brown         1998 257 5.24 0.28
Pedro  Martinez      1997 305 4.55 0.60
Randy  Johnson       1995 294 4.52 0.50
Roger  Clemens       1988 291 4.69 0.58
Tom  Seaver          1971 289 4.74 0.57
Sandy  Koufax        1963 306 5.28 0.52
Walter  Johnson      1913 243 6.39 0.23
Ed  Walsh            1908 269 4.80 0.04
Christy  Mathewson   1908 259 6.17 0.12

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 1/18/2015.

 

*seasons since 1901

The Mariners’ Mr. Durability

In each of his nine full major league seasons Felix Hernandez has made at least 30 starts.  For such a young pitcher to be so durable seems remarkable.  “King Felix” has not yet turned 29.

Here are the most seasons, all-time with at least 30 games started through age 28:

Name                Yrs From   To   Age
Felix  Hernandez       9 2006 2014 20-28
Bert  Blyleven         9 1971 1979 20-28
Walter  Johnson        9 1908 1916 20-28
Christy  Mathewson     9 1901 1909 20-28

 

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used

King Felix Moving Up the K Record Book

Despite the Mariners loss to the Rangers Wednesday night Felix Hernandez hurled a gem.  Seven innings, one walk, one run allowed and a two-to-one groundball-flyball rate.  He also whiffed nine Rangers which brings his career total to 1,742.

Just last night King Felix passed Bob Friend, Tom Candiotti, Ed Walsh (HOF) and Dave Stewart on the all-time strikeout list.

A great night’s work despite the loss.

The Precedent for the Tight AL Cy Young Race

The 2013 American League Cy Young race is very close.  According to FanGraphs WAR here are the top three finishers:

  1. Max Scherzer – 6.4 WAR
  2. Anibal Sanchez – 6.2
  3. Felix Hernandez – 6.0

I realize that Wins Above Replacement is not a be-all end-all but it is a pretty good estimate of value over a long season (in this case ~30 starts each).

Looking back at the history of the AL Cy Young award I found another very tight three-way race.  Back in 1971 the AL leaders in pitching fWAR looked like this:

  1. Vida Blue – 8.7 WAR
  2. Wilbur Wood – 8.6
  3. Mickey Lolich – 8.2

Lolich, the Detroit Tigers ace finished second in the Cy voting.  The 15 (out of 24) voters who didn’t place Lolich first had to overlook his AL leading 25 wins and 308 strikeouts.

Also in 45 games started the lefty averaged 8 1/3 innings pitched per start. Lolich threw an astounding 376 innings in 1971!  This was forty-two more than the second most in the league hurled by Wilbur Wood (who finished third in the voting for Cy).

Like this year any of the three guys in ’71 was a worthy choice although it’s hard to argue against the winner, Vida Blue. The twenty-one year old Oakland Athletic led the AL in K rate (8.6/9 IP), shutouts (8) and WAR!

The voters got the jist of the whole thing four decades before saber-metrics became mainstream.  We’ll find out later today if they’ve still got it.

Justin Verlander Never Quit Being Elite

Justin Verlander proved last night that he has still got it.  The media may have you think that he had lost it this year.  That he was finished as an ace.  After tossing eight shutout innings against the Oakland Athletics in the deciding game of the ALDS they will now tell you that he is back.  The problem with this narrative is that he never went anywhere.

According to pitcher WAR over at FanGraphs, Verlander ranked seventh best among all major league starters.  He is just ahead of Cliff Lee, Chris Sale and Yu Darvish.  This in his supposed down season.

Verlander finished with the fourth most strikeouts in the American League, one ahead of Felix Hernandez.

No one is writing that any of those four elite pitchers have taken a step back or are finished as an ace.  Verlander showed us last night that we shouldn’t even think of writing him off yet.

The King is back #Felix

The early season struggles of Felix Hernandez are clearly behind him.  Here are his runs allowed/start over his last 19 outings:

0 runs – 5 starts

1 run – 6

2 runs – 3

3+ runs – 5

That’s fewer than 3 runs allowed in three-quarter of his starts since the middle-of June.  With a perfect game to boot, King Felix secures a slot on the AL 2nd Half All-Stars and the shutout crown for the first time in his career (5 shutouts).