Thursday, November 25, 2004

Felix Hernandez Report

Felix Hernandez, RHP, Seattle Mariners
Signed as an Undrafted Free Agent, 2002, Venezuela
Bats R/Throws R
18 YO, 6'3", 170 lbs

I could try to act coy and pretend like I'm not completely sold on the kid, but you'd see through that pretty quickly. So here it is. This kid is a stud. S-T-U-D, STUD. He's 18 years old and he put up a 3.30 ERA with 58 K's and 21 walks in 57 1/3 innings in AA. That's staggering. That happened AFTER he he posted a 2.73 ERA with 114 K's and 26 walks in 92 innings pitched. With those numbers, he'd be one of the best pitching prospects in baseball if he were 4 years older than he is today. I have more numbers for you. Thus far in two pro seasons, he has a 2.72 ERA in 218 1/3 innings with more than a strikeout per inning and a walk a little more than every third inning.

Hernandez has 3 great pitches, a smoking fastball that is among the best in baseball, a sick curve, and change that has come a long way. There really isn't much more you could ask for. The only real things that keep him from being the best prospect in baseball are the standard TINSTAAPP stuff. He's still an 18 year old pitcher, which means he's a bigger injury rick that the elite hitting prospects of the minors like Dallas McPherson and Ian Stewart. In that respect, he'd be better off if he were a few years older since injury rates drop precipitously in the mid 20's. But he doesn't have any significant injuries in his past. His delivery is reported to be smooth and easy, so he isn't a Craig House kind of apparent injury waiting to happen. He's just a gifted young pitcher. When he gets to Seattle, he's an ERA title waiting to happen with a friendly ballpark and a track record of preventing runs by the bushel.

He should start 2005 in the PCL, but if we've learned anything at this point, it is that he should make swiss cheese of that league and make it to the majors by his 20th birthday.

ETA: Late 2005
5 Stars

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