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2011 Fantasy Baseball Preview: Felix Hernandez

Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Felix Hernandez throws against the Texas Rangers during the first inning of their American League baseball game at Safeco Field in Seattle, Washington, August 5, 2010.  REUTERS/Anthony Bolante (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)

Two days after Roy Halladay unanimously won the NL Cy Young, Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners somehow won the AL Cy Young. He got 21 of the 28 first place votes.

Instead of weighing in on the debate about whether or not Hernandez deserves the award, let’s keep the insight here to his numbers – which is the only thing fantasy baseballers really care about, anyway. Felix The King was a statistical stud despite his crappy 13-12 record: he led the AL in ERA (2.27) and innings pitched (249.7) and finished second in strikeouts (232). He also finished 2010 with a 1.06 WHIP.

Because the only reason we’re really blogging about King Felix right now is because he won the Cy, I find it important to note that David Price of Tampa Bay and C.C. Sabathia of the Yankees finished second and third in the voting, respectively. Also, no Cy Young winner has ever won less games than Hernandez… and his won-loss mark of 1-game over .500 is the lowest for a Cy Young winner ever.

But, seriously, enough about that…

Because in fantasy baseball, we care about stats! And (wins aside) King Felix is a 5×5 fantasy baseball monster.

In our world, Hernandez has a lot of value because he logs a lot of strikeouts, keeps batters off base, and keeps runners from crossing home plate. He pitches in the American League… and he pitches for the Mariners. The whole Mariners thing seemed like a great thing back in March when the M’s were the best in the AL West… on paper. Looking back on how awful they were in 2010, and fearing that they won’t improve greatly in 2011 hurts Felix’s value in 2011.

Right now, heading into next season, we have King Felix ranked the no. 7 starting pitcher in fantasy baseball – and the no. 2 AL ranked pitcher behind C.C. Sabathia (Note: Cliff Lee is ranked one spot ahead of Felix and one spot behind Sabathia. Obviously, if Lee signs with the Yanks, Felix becomes the no. 3 AL pitcher for 2011, etc.).

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