I have mentioned a few times about how Zack Greinke gets nowhere near enough press attention, especially for his level of success this year. Well, as far as the latter point goes, move over Greinke because here comes Felix Hernandez.
Take a look at Felix’s last eleven starts, from a Matthew point of view (that is, looking at the numbers that I care about):
I prefer tRA to FIP, but even if you do not, you should get the general picture here. A 12% swinging strike rate coupled with over 50% of batted balls being on the ground? Yee-haw!
For years and years, the Seattle blogosphere cherished and also admonished Felix Hernandez, cursing him for throwing too many fastballs, which many of us felt, and the pitch type values back up, was/is Felix’s worst offering. Which is not to say that it is bad, certainly not, but rather that it is a testament to just how good his off speed and breaking pitches are.
A funny thing happened though, instead of throwing fewer fastballs this year (64.2% versus a career mark of 60.8%), Felix has instead simply thrown better ones. It was always one of the possible paths of improvement that we in Seattle talked about, it just seemed the least likely and more difficult of the two. Perhaps throwing all those fastballs has finally paid off with improved command. We will never know. Frankly, I do not much care. I know I get to watch this guy pitch every five days or so, hopefully for a long while, and that is all I need right now.