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View Full Version : Felix Hernandez/Homer Bailey Comparison



jimbo
05-26-2007, 05:11 PM
I have Felix Hernandez on my fantasy team and thought I'd throw this out for discussion. For those of you who may not know who he is, he's a 21 pitcher for the Mariners who has a lot of the same expectations that Homer Bailey does. They are only a month apart in age.

Seattle brought him up in 2005 at age 19 for 12 starts and he was on the major league ballclub the entire 2006 season and had 31 starts and pitched 191 innings. Had a decent year last year with a 12-14 record, 4.52 ERA and 1.34 WHIP. Not bad for a 20 year old. The hope was this year would be his break out year. His first two starts were outstanding giving up 0 runs in 17 innings with 18 Ks. Since then he has suffered a forearm injury that required a stint on the DL and after his third start back, last night left the game with tightness in his back.

In my opinion, I seriously questioned the Mariners even bringing him up in 2005 and giving him that many starts last season, for the same reasons I don't think the Reds should be bringing up Homer this season. Now, I'm not saying it's a fact that Hernandez's injuries this season is a result of being overused at 20 years old, but I think it's a very real possibility. What did having Hernandez on the major league club really accomplish last season? Seattle never competed for the playoffs. Why not just keep Hernandez in the minors where his workload can be more controlled? Build his arm up to where it is ready for the rigors of major league pitching.

For me, this is exactly why I don't think a pitcher of the age of 20 or 21 should be pitching close to 200 innings a season, especially on a team that is going nowhere. I'm not saying it's a certainty that Bailey would run into the same problems as Hernandez has if given a similar route, but I just don't think it's worth a risk. What does everyone else think?

RedEye
05-26-2007, 05:25 PM
As far as I know, the Mariners were very cautious with King Felix last year. They held him to a strict pitch count, etc. Also, he was so dominant in the minors at a young age (like 17 and 18!) that he had nothing left to prove there. His problems derive from strange mechanics that put a strain on his elbow and back. As far as I know, the Mariners are working hard to correct those problems as well.

At some point, you have to admit that pitching is an unnatural motion for the body--no matter what level of baseball a guy is pitching. IMO, Homer's mechanics are pretty sound, although his control on his off-speed stuff could apparently use a bit of polishing. Other than that, I think he should be brought up very soon because he has very little left to prove at AAA. His performance in the majors certainly can't get much worse than the outings that Lohse and Belisle have been putting up lately. We have to remember that he can get injured down there just as easily as he can up here.

UC_Ken
05-26-2007, 05:32 PM
A couple differences
1. Hernandez is not American. Homer came from HS ball in Texas and probably wasn't nearly as developed as Hernandez at similar ages. I don't know enough about Latin baseball to know for sure, this is my perception.
2. Bailey is a terrific prospect, Hernandez is a once in a generation type pitching project. Think Josh Hamilton/Ken Griffey Jr. if they were pitchers.

cincrazy
05-26-2007, 05:33 PM
I've long voiced the same concerns over Bailey. However, I feel that if the Reds do bring him up, it would be acceptable as long as they use him NO MORE than they would had he been in Louisville. And by that I mean watching his pitch count, and most importantly his innings pitched on the season. I still think Homer isn't ready yet, but if they do bring him up, and use him correctly, I won't have as much problem with it as I would otherwise.

RedEye
05-26-2007, 05:37 PM
I've long voiced the same concerns over Bailey. However, I feel that if the Reds do bring him up, it would be acceptable as long as they use him NO MORE than they would had he been in Louisville. And by that I mean watching his pitch count, and most importantly his innings pitched on the season. I still think Homer isn't ready yet, but if they do bring him up, and use him correctly, I won't have as much problem with it as I would otherwise.

I would hope the same thing. Unfortunately, with Narron at the helm and such a porous bullpen, it might not happen that way. :eek:

jimbo
05-26-2007, 05:45 PM
We have to remember that he can get injured down there just as easily as he can up here.

I don't agree with that. As I mentioned, a pitcher's workload can be controlled much more in the minors. At his age, you are developing his arm in the minors to be major league ready. You can still limit him somewhat in the majors, but the main priority there is winning and that's where limitations are more likely to be crossed. You also have to take into consideration that a kid that age may have tendancies to over-extend their ability and readiness because of their desires to prove themself worthy of being on a major league club.

I also wouldn't characterize 191 innings pitched as being on a strict pitch count as that ranks 55th among all major league pitchers in 2006. And I disagree in that Bailey has nothing left to prove in the minors. Everyone from his coaches, managers, teammates, catchers and scouts all say he is not ready for the majors. That tells me he still has a lot to prove.

jimbo
05-26-2007, 05:46 PM
A couple differences
1. Hernandez is not American. Homer came from HS ball in Texas and probably wasn't nearly as developed as Hernandez at similar ages. I don't know enough about Latin baseball to know for sure, this is my perception.
2. Bailey is a terrific prospect, Hernandez is a once in a generation type pitching project. Think Josh Hamilton/Ken Griffey Jr. if they were pitchers.

Good observations.

Kingspoint
05-27-2007, 04:27 AM
One's from Mexico, one's from Texico?