Has King Felix already begun to decline due to his heavy workload over the last 11 seasons?
Felix Hernandez, known around the league as King Felix, has been one of the most dominant and most durable pitchers in baseball since his debut in August of 2005.
He came into the league a flame-throwing rookie, and though his velocity has dropped pretty dramatically, he pitches with finesse and is still extremely effective. But are the innings beginning to take a toll on King Felix, who turns just 30 on April 8? How many more Opening Day starts does Hernandez have left in him?
He’s still young, even by MLB standards, but he’s a well-seasoned veteran entering his 12th big-league season. The Cy Young award-winner and six-time all-star has thrown more innings than Adam Wainwright, who is five years his senior, and Jake Peavy, who debuted three years earlier than Hernandez.
In fact, since his first full big-league season in 2006, only Justin Verlander has thrown more pitches. At the same time however, Verlander’s also pitched fewer innings, meaning King Felix has been overall more effective.
He has been the lone bright spot for the Mariners, who haven’t made a postseason since their historic 116-win season in 2001. Still, he is beginning to slow down. He is coming off of a season in 2015 in which he posted his worst ERA (3.53) since 2007, when he posted a 3.92 ERA. He tied his career-high in home runs allowed.
Although over the years his overall velocity has dropped, his fastball still averaged 92.1 MPH in 2015 according to Fangraphs. His sinker still sits at 91 or 92 MPH on the radar gun. He still has one of the game’s most devastating changeups that drops off the table and out of sight.
To read more about King Felix and why he might already be declining at just 30 years old, head over to Today’s Knuckleball by following the link below: