I suppose it's only appropriate that Felix's year ends with one last shot of bad luck. Story of the season. The only difference is that this time it wasn't with too many outfield flies sailing over the fence to cost him some ERA; it was a rain delay and a crappy effort by the bullpen to cost him a win. It's a tough pill to swallow, but if nothing else, Felix can take solace in the fact that the guy that did the most damage won't be a Mariner anymore in three months. Only seven more games until Pineiro and Meche are gone forever. If that doesn't put a smile on your face, nothing will.
We'll have plenty of time to talk about this over the winter, but looking back, I don't think it's fair to call Felix's year a disappointment. If anything, I'd say it was the complete opposite - while there were rough patches along the way, he was able to sustain phenomenal peripherals all summer long in his first full Major League season. At the age of 20. There were frequent pitch selection issues, but part of it is organizational philosophy and part of it is just learning and gaining experience. It can be hard for a young power arm to overcome the fastball mentality that's been drilled into his head for as long as he can remember, but Felix showed progress in that regard as the season wore on, his home run rate dropping as a result. There's still room to improve, but again, he's 20, and he knows a hell of a lot more now than he did six months ago.
More important than performance, though, is the fact that Felix was able to stay healthy enough to start 30 games and log 198 innings (ST included) without ever breaking down. There were no problems in his shoulder, no problems in his elbow, and even when he pulled up wincing after hurting his leg this afternoon, he came back to strike out the next batter he faced. This is a testament to both Felix's natural durability and the organization's treatment of their prized young jewel, the latter coming as something of a surprise given the team's historical woodchipper effect on tantalizing pitchers. Make no mistake - while playing competitive baseball would've been great this year, the team's #1 goal was to develop its young talent and keep everyone healthy for a pennant run in 2007, and they've succeeded.
Felix isn't out of the woods yet, and his delivery is still a little troublesome, but making it through the season without any kind of soreness or visible fatigue is an absolutely fantastic accomplishment that rather considerably aids his long-term outlook. So forget about the ERA, forget about the home runs, and forget about the fastballs. With two outs in the bottom of the fifth, Felix ended his season with a strikeout.
This guy's gonna be something else.
Biggest Contribution: Richie Sexson, +18.8%
Biggest Suckfest: Joel Pineiro, -56.8%
Most Important At Bat: Sexson homer, +18.7%
Most Important Pitch: Konerko homer, -44.2%
Total Contribution by Pitcher(s): -75.2%
Total Contribution by Position Players: +19.3%
Ryan Feierabend makes his first career ML start tomorrow against Smokey McReefer at 11:05am PDT. Don't miss it.