Monday, June 04, 2007
If you play fantasy baseball, a great premium site for fantasy information is Ron Shandler's Baseball HQ site. One weekly feature is a speculation on the latest injuries. Today includes a scary blurb on our favorite pitcher, El Cartelua:
Felix Hernandez (RHP, SEA)Sounds like we may have a few more rocky Felix outings ahead of us, but at least no one thinks the King is currently hurt. We'll be hoping to see the Felix that dominated Boston earlier this season.
Did you watch Felix Hernandez's latest start? He allowed seven runs, nine hits and three home runs in six innings of work. Needless to say, it wasn't a confidence-building outing by any stretch of the imagination. While he walked just one, and for the most part he had enough control to avoid getting behind every hitter he faced, he didn't have good command of his pitches. They were up in the strike zone, as evidenced by the three homers and the fact he missed the catcher's glove high more times than not.
One veteran baseball observer I discussed his outing with felt Hernandez was struggling with his release point. That would help explain the command issues. He added that Hernandez looked more like the 2006 version than the supposedly new and improved 2007 version. Could his post DL struggles be related to the flexor muscle strain he endured last month? It's likely because he hasn't gotten over the psychological barrier of being hurt in April. Maybe the back stiffness and reduced flexibility in his torso from his prior start was still an issue also.
The bottom line is this: Hernandez is not the same pitcher he was in his first two starts of 2007 when he dominated. The elbow and forearm problems may be the answer as to why he's struggling. Because he's so young, and doesn't have a lot of professional baseball experience, it will take him a while to right the ship.