This happens to fantasy baseball players every year — including myself. There you are, sitting in your season-long draft staring at Felix Hernandez. You want to draft him so badly, but him being on the Seattle Mariners makes you hesitate. His ability to dominate is clear and he’ll be an asset to your team, but the lack of offensive support he gets makes some people pass on him.
If you took a chance on him this year, you’ve struck gold. King Felix has one AL Cy Young award and has been selected to five All-Star games in his 10 year career, but 2014 is shaping up to be his best ever, and best since he won 19 games for Seattle in 2009.
Through 24 starts and 173.1 innings pitched this season, the right-hander has dominated with a 12-3 record, league-leading 1.97 ERA and 0.88 WHIP, while striking out 186 hitters. He’s already matched his win total from 2013, and is just two victories away from the most wins he’s had in a single season over the last five years. His ERA and WHIP are the career-lows, while his three losses are on pace for his fewest ever.
Consistency is needed for your fantasy baseball ace, but Hernandez has taken consistent dominance to another level. The MLB put this in perspective via Twitter:
The previous pitcher to hold this record was Hall of Famer Tom Seaver, who accomplished the feat for 13 straight starts back in 1971.
Whenever King Felix takes the mound for Seattle, he’s one of the most expensive daily fantasy plays on FanDuel. It can be tough to build the rest of your roster when you commit so much of your salary cap to one player, but if his current streak shows anything, you’ll get an incredible return on your investment.
Over his last 15 starts, Hernandez hasn’t struck out fewer than five hitters, doing so just twice. Before factoring in whether he’s earned a win, FanDuelers who’ve selected him during this time are getting no less than 10 fantasy points per start. He’s struck out nine-plus hitters eight times, while collecting eight victories. Anyone who can fit him into their lineup gets exactly what they’re paying for — a completely dominant performance that makes a difference in your contest whether he’s wins or not.
While Felix has taken his game to another level this season, his actual output isn’t incredibly surprising. We’ve known what he’s capable of since he debuted back in 2005. Having a better team around him has helped his stats see a major boost. Currently standing at 58-54 on the year, this is Seattle’s first chance to post a winning record since they went 85-77 in 2009, which was when Hernandez won 19 of those games.
Since ’09, the Mariners haven’t won more than 75 games in a season. While Felix’s highest single-season ERA rose to 3.47 during this span, the lack of runs scored by the team allowed him to only amass a win-loss record of 52-45.
Not many thought Seattle would be playing as well as they have in 2014, but one of the players to benefit the most has been Hernandez. If you have him in a season-long league, continue depending on him. Even when this record-breaking streak gets snapped, he’ll produce plenty of points. If you’re a daily fantasy player, find a way to get him into your lineup — you won’t regret it.