Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Felix Hernandez: Best young pitcher in MLB?

If you needed a pitcher to win one game for you with everything on the line, my pick would be Roy Halladay of the Toronto Blue Jays.

But what if you could have a pitcher to build your staff around for the next 10 years?

The surprise pick here is Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners.

Hernandez, 23, doesn’t get much attention because he plays for a mediocre team in the far away Pacific Northwest.

But when you look at the numbers, it’s hard to argue with someone who is 7-3 with a 2.77 ERA, a 96 mph fastball and some nasty stuff to go with it.

Furthermore, Hernandez has allowed only three earned runs over 35 innings in his last five starts. (And remember, he is facing better hitters in the American League.)


For a duo, you can’t beat Tim Lincecum, 25, and Matt Cain, 24, of the San Francisco Giants.

Lincecum, last year’s NL Cy Young winner, is already 6-1 with a 2.66 ERA and 103 strikeouts in 88 innings. Cain, who looks like he may win the Cy Young this year, is 9-1 with a 2.39 ERA.

As for other young pitchers on the rise, how about Zack Greinke of the Kansas City Royals or even Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers?

Greinke, 25, is 8-2 with a 1.72 ERA and 97 strikeouts in 94 1/3 innings.

But he has “slipped” in his last three starts, allowing 11 earned runs in 19 1/3 innings.

Kershaw, 21, may be the most intriguing of all. He doesn’t have the stats at 3-5 with a 4.13 ERA, but he has the stuff to at least be compared to Dodger great Sandy Koufax at the same age.

When Koufax was 21, he was also all over the place with his pitches like Kershaw. As time progresses, we’ll see whether lefty Kershaw progresses to a point where he can be compared to left-hander Koufax in his prime.

Hernandez. The San Francisco duo. Greinke. Kershaw. You probably can’t go wrong with any of them over the long haul.


sam said...

How could you possibly pick Hernandez over Lincecum, who has already won a Cy Young? The Seattle pitcher could be very good; Lincecum is better.

kareem said...

The pitcher from Seattle he definitely should have a bright future in the league and he has the tools to become one of the good ones.