Since Felix Hernandez made his Major League debut in August of 2005, the Seattle Mariners have gone 609-743, a .450 winning percentage.
Hernandez owns a career win-lost record of 110-86, a .561 winning percentage.
In games where Hernandez doesn’t get the decision, the Mariners own .431 winning percentage.
When Hernandez gets the decision, the Mariners have played at the level of a 91-win team. When he doesn’t, they’ve played at the level of a 70-win team.
Now, wins are hardly the best or only way to measure a starting pitcher, but they’re clearly something Hall of Fame voters still weigh heavily. In the past 20 years, only one starting pitcher with fewer than 300 wins has been elected (Bert Blyleven). In fact, he’s the only starting pitcher elected since Nolan Ryan in 1999 (by the BBWAA or the Veterans Committee).
In other words, "King Felix", burdened by some of the worst offenses in baseball history, has his work cut out for him to get to a win total that Hall of Fame voters will appreciate. But that doesn’t mean he isn’t on a Hall of Fame trek. His 110 wins through his age-27 season rank 19th since 1947. More impressively, his 38.6 rWAR ranks tied for ninth.
Of course, he’s tied with Dwight Gooden, which reminds us that a Hall of Fame career is usually built around what you do in your 30s more so than what you do in your 20s.
Hernandez should still have a few more peak seasons in him – even if that greatness isn’t reflected in 18-to-win seasons. Assuming he stays healthy, you hope voters will one day appreciate his durability and low ERA and recognize him for being one of the best pitchers of his generation.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
David Schoenfield is a senior writer for ESPN.com and been with ESPN since 1995, having served as baseball editor and Page 2 senior editor. You can follow him on Twitter at @dschoenfield and the SweetSpot blog on Facebook.