Close the Book on Felix

2008 is done for Felix Hernandez and here's a quick rundown on what the year entailed:

THE BAD

  • Felix's tRA+ dropped from 114 to 110, the worst mark of his career.
  • Felix threw strikes 1% less often in 2008 than in 2007.
  • Felix registered a called strike 17.1% of the time, the worst mark of his career.
  • Felix registered a swinging strike 8.6% of the time, the worst mark of his career.
  • Of balls put in play, 50.7% were on the ground, the worst mark of his career and just under nine points lower than it was previously.
  • 19% of balls in play were of a line drive type, the worst mark of his career.
  • Felix struck out 20.42% of all batters that he faced, the worst mark of his career.
  • Felix walked 9.34% of all batters that he faced, the worst mark of his career.
  • Felix hit 0.93% of all batters that he faced, the worst mark of his career.

THE GOOD

  • A really awsome grandslam off Johan Santana.
  • His home runs allowed per ball in air regressed to normal.
  • His batting average on balls in play regressed to normal.
  • No arm injuries.

Felix's year boiled down to his bad luck going away and him responding to that due fortune by regressing in just about every conceivable way. It's almost unfathomable how much of a step back this season is on a trend line. Don't get me wrong, these aren't career troubling regressions for the most part. The problem is that they arrest Felix's ascension. They are the most recent data points and thus have to be weighed the most heavily and suddenly when 2006-8 is viewed, you get a picture of a mostly horizontal slope rather than the upwards movement you would hope from a prospect. Perhaps pictures would make this easier to see:

Our hopes Current state

That's not to say Felix hasn't been a good pitcher this year; he has. And it's not to say that he cannot resume that climb in 2009; he can. It is to say that his future looks less bright now than it did six months ago. And that sucks.

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