Felix Hernandez has pitched brilliantly this season. No surprise there. But as someone named Jeffrey Sullivan points out, the way he's doing it sure is interesting:
Felix, as a rookie, had immediate, outstanding success, the sort of success that led us all to believe he couldn’t possibly struggle. Seriously, that’s what I recall as we headed into 2006 — I recall thinking “Felix doesn’t have any downside.” Subsequent years would reveal that Felix still had a lot of work to do, but as his fastball deteriorated, his numbers bounced back. Felix, now, looks only a little like the guy he was in 2005. Felix, now, looks almost identical to the guy he was in 2005. There are throwers, and there are pitchers. Felix has been amazing as both of them.
This is all to set up just a few factoids. The following, courtesy of Baseball Info Solutions, won’t take you by surprise:
2005: 96mph average fastball
2013: 91mph average fastball
With less of a fastball, Felix mastered the changeup, then he mastered that mastered changeup. We aren’t to the point yet where we can say that Felix is thriving as a finesse pitcher, but what’s crazy is that such an idea isn’t wild or unrealistic...
Hey, maybe there's still hope for Tim Lincecum. Can a Freak emulate a King?