Saturday, March 15, 2008

Fantasy Plus: Felix Hernendez

Haven't done one of these for a while, and as it's draft time for most of us, I'll be doing a few more of these over the next couple of days. Right now, we're going to look at Felix Hernendez.
The regal expectations flowed from Hernandez after having just 14 starts at Triple-A three years ago and then a 2.67 ERA and 77 strikeouts in 12 starts for Seattle late in 2005. But he began 2006 out of shape. "I was fat," Hernandez has said of a season in which he was 12-14 with a 4.52 ERA. Expect King Felix to make a move toward the elite of Fantasy Baseball this season. He is an outstanding pick after the top 10 aces are off the board.

FOX Sports
Even though Erik Bedard is the Opening Day starter, Hernandez has as much upside as any pitcher in the American League. He has given up just two runs in 11 innings this spring while Bedard has struggled. (RotoWire - Tue. Mar 11, 2008)
We may not have to wait much longer for the King's coronation. Although he struggled at times last season, Hernandez had the highest strikeout rate of any pitcher with at least a 2/1 groundout-to-flyout ratio. He also finished with a lofty .337 opponents' BABIP, suggesting that he'll allow fewer hits this year. Set to turn 22 shortly after Opening Day, the burgeoning ace appears poised to put it all together. At the very least, expect him to top 200 innings and 200 strikeouts for the first time.

My Analysis
Is it time to crown the King? With Erik Bedard named the Opening Day starter, and Felix moved into the two spot in the rotation, he won't have as much pressure. He has an amazing defence behind him, and a solid offence that he can count on. If he can stay healthy, you can expect around 200 IP, and 200 K. Felix will be 22 this season, and after a couple season's experience, he seems poised to prove that he is one of the game's elite pitchers. Don't be afraid to take him when his name comes up between rounds five and seven. He souldn't let you down.

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