Is Felix Still King?

Felix Hernandez had a rough outing in his most recent start vs. the Athletics.  The Mariners ended up winning the game 9-8, but King Felix was knocked around (4 IP 9 H 8 R 4 ER 1 K).  2 errors including one by Hernandez didn’t help matters.  Hernandez in 6 starts is 2-2 with a 2.21 ERA, 1.25 WHIP with a 29:18 K:BB. Command has been a problem with a 5 and a 6 walk performance already this season.  Finishing off hitters with a wipe away close out pitch has escaped the 6-time All-Star so far as well.  Analysts point to 2 miles per-hour of lost velocity on his fastball and the game plan of pitching backwards by featuring more of his off-speed pitches.  2,299 career innings is a lot of mileage and there’s only so many throws in an arm.  As stuff diminishes so does the margin for error.

Breaking down his performances this year, Hernandez has faced the Rangers, A’s twice, Yankees, Angels, and Royals. Familiarity makes divisional opponents tough.  King Felix owns a career 2.58 ERA vs. the A’s, 3.31 ERA against the Angels, and 3.72 ERA vs. the Rangers.  Oakland is the opponent where King Felix has had his best success 11-3 in Oakland and 22-8 in his career.

As a King Felix fantasy owner, I am not ready to hit the panic button. The results for Hernandez now don’t match the results of his prime.  Last season, Hernandez went 18-9 with a 3.53 ERA and 1.18 WHIP.  Not King Felix-like ratios but still solid numbers. The sky is not falling for a pitcher with a 2.21 ERA and 1.25 WHIP in 6 starts.  I would anticipate King Felix turning things around pretty soon.  The 2010 AL Cy Young winner has been a pitcher instead of a thrower for his major league career.  I expect King Felix to make the adjustment and in 30-plus starts the numbers should be there.

Fantasy owners that have King Felix should hold pat unless a solid offer is on the table.
Selling short would be a big mistake as better days should be ahead. I own Hernandez in 1 of my 5 leagues, but will try to buy him for 50 cents on the dollar.

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