clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Black Sunday Pick-Me-Up

  • I don't know how or why this has seemingly been flying under the radar, but Ichiro is absolutely white hot right now. Not only has he had a hit in all but four games so far, but since May 15th he's batted .437 with six doubles and three homers. His season line to date is .354/.386/.484, and what he's lacked in walks he's made up for with a fair bit of pop. Yeah, his BABIP of .368 is high, but it's not much higher than his career mark of .356, so it's not like we should expect him to come crashing back down to Earth. This just has the look of a return to his peak level of production. Ichiro may be 35 years old, but there's no bit of statistical evidence - none at all - that he's about to slow down. He was stinging the ball today.

  • Last night, Felix threw 113 pitches, and the Angels missed 17 of them. Why is that meaningful? I'd like you to take a look at the following chart.

    Year Strike% SwS%
    2005 64.9% 10.0%
    2006 63.8% 9.0%
    2007 65.2% 9.7%
    2008 64.2% 8.6%
    2009 65.0% 12.4%

    The first column is good; Felix is throwing as many strikes as ever. But the second column is remarkable. I'm not entirely sure how he's done it - maybe he's finally figured out how to locate his fastball - but Felix has taken his ability to miss bats to another level. That 12.4% swinging strike rate ranks Felix fifth in baseball out of 131 starters. He's above Justin Verlander, he's above Cole Hamels, and he's above Zack Greinke. Felix has been missing bats like we always expected him to, and that improvement has allowed him to pitch like a bonafide #1.

    I'm not quite ready to say it, since I've been burned by this one before, but it's possible that, after so many years of frustrating predictability and inconsistency, we're finally bearing witness to the birth of an ace. It's been a long, annoying road, Felix, but if everything in the past was just your convoluted route to the proper destination, then I guess it will have been worth it.