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Entries in Kendrys Morales (2)

Thursday
Feb072013

The Fantasy Baseball Diary: Felix Hernandez

Felix Hernandez is an ideal example of a pitcher who has seen enormous success from locating, mixing and sequencing. For the past five seasons he’s been one of the best starting pitchers in the game because of his durability and domination of hitters. 

During the 2012 regular season opposing batters hit .241 versus Felix Hernandez.

What was the most remarkable about his 2012 season was that he was able to dominate hitters despite moving away from his fastball and its decreasing velocity. 

Felix Hernandez's Trending Fastball Velocity

Source: BrooksBaseball.net

 

Hernandez’s velocity has decreased year-over-year since the start of his MLB career. As the velocity dropped he no longer depended on his plus-plus (well above-average) fastball to get hitters out. Instead, he relied on location and the sequencing of his secondary pitches.

 

In the last five seasons he leads the league in ground ball percentage and is sixth in strikeouts per nine innings among any pitcher with at least 1,000 innings pitched. What was the most remarkable about his 2012 season was that he was able to dominate hitters despite a decline in the speed of his fastball.  

Checkout These Career Numbers

YEAR

IP

K/9

BB/9

H/9

HR/9

WHIP

ERA

2005

84.3

8.22

2.46

6.51

0.53

1.00

2.67

2006

191

8.29

2.83

9.19

1.08

1.34

4.52

2007

190.3

7.80

2.51

9.88

0.95

1.38

3.92

2008

200.7

7.85

3.59

8.88

0.76

1.39

3.45

2009

238.7

8.18

2.68

7.54

0.57

1.14

2.49

2010

249.7

8.36

2.52

6.99

0.61

1.06

2.27

2011

233.7

8.55

2.58

8.40

0.73

1.22

3.47

2012

232

8.65

2.17

8.11

0.54

1.14

3.06

The table below shows the percentage of pitches Hernandez threw in 2012 compared to the four seasons prior.

Last season he threw the fastball far less and utilized his secondary pitches more. 

Pitches

2008-11

2012

Fastball

43%

23%

Change Up

12%

25%

Curveball

12%

14%

Slider

11%

14%

Cutter

1%

12%

Sinker

19%

12%

Splitter

2%

-

 

What's Felix Hernandez's Fantasy Value for 2013?

The maturation process of Hernandez from a thrower to a pitcher has largely flown under the radar. Last season was by far his most impressive season of his career because he was able to sustain his dominance without plus-plus stuff. He maintained his level of performance by relying on his command of the strike zone and incorporating more of his secondary pitches.

 

The fences are moving in this year at Safeco Field, but Colin Wyers wrote a great article that moving in the fences will only have a slight impact on the number of runs scored. King Felix pitches in a great pitchers park and the Mariners offense should be improved with the acquisition of Michael Morse and Kendrys Morales, but he’s still going to have a difficult time trying to get wins against the best division on the American League. 

Monday
Mar262012

Kendrys Morales' Splits

Angels DH Kendrys Morales is making progress in his recovery from the euphoria-turned-tragedy that occurred at home plate on May 29, 2010, when he shattered his left leg in a walk-off celebration. Morales appeared in L.A.'s lineup for the first time in nearly two years last week, though Angels manager Mike Scioscia told Fox Sports' Tracy Ringolsby that the 28-year-old will need ample rest:

"He has to get his body acclimated," Scioscia said.

Scioscia is aware the switch-hitting Morales will need some days off during the regular season. Most likely, those days will come against left-handed pitchers.

"He will DH against virtully every righty,'' Scioscia. "It's not going to be a play a ton, but there are going to be times he needs a day off.''

Timing those off days so Morales takes a seat against lefties looks like a solid strategy. The switch-hitter has a career .295/.354/.537 line in 924 plate appearances against right-handed pitching, but a comparatively paltry .255/.285/.403 triple-slash in 316 PA versus left-handers.

Given the 70-plus point difference in on-base percentage, you might think that Morales is more of a hacker against lefties than righties. But that's not the case: his chase rate dating back to 2008 (the first year of Pitch F/X data) is 32% from both sides of the plate. Rather, lefty pitchers go right after Morales while righties tiptoe around the plate.

Here's righty pitchers' location versus Morales from 2008-10:

Right-handed pitchers' location vs. Morales, 2008-10Right-handers placed just under 40% of their pitches in the zone against Morales, compared to the 46% average for righty-lefty confrontations. Now, look at where lefties have thrown to Morales. They like to locate on the outside corner:

Left-handed pitchers' location vs. Morales, 2008-10

Lefties have put 49% of their offerings in the zone, which is the MLB average for lefty-righty tussles. And Morales hasn't done much of anything on lefty pitches on the outside corner:

Morales' in-play slugging percentage by location vs. left-handed pitchers

Given Morales' platoon splits, Scioscia is smart to keep Morales in the lineup against righties and give his ankle a rest against the CC Sabtahias and Jon Lesters of the AL.