Crystal Ball: Felix Hernandez
Doing a crystal ball for this guy is fraught with danger. Basically anything I write here will be torn apart by someone. If the crystal ball sees brilliance ahead, people will say "there is no such thing as a pitching prospect." If the crystal ball predicts mediocrity, Mariners fans and fantasy owners will scream bloody murder. Shooting for the midpoint is my natural inclination here, but in a case like Hernandez, that's chickensXXt.
Anyhow, I said I'd do it, so here goes. Fundamental assumptions for this crystal ball:
A) Felix Hernandez is as good as everyone thinks, something like a cross between Dwight Gooden and Mark Prior.
B) Felix Hernandez will be handled carefully by the Mariners. They won't ask him to throw 250 innings right away.
C) There's still a good chance he will get hurt.
D) He eventually becomes too expensive for a "small revenue" team to hold on to.
I designed this to represent an outstanding pitcher with a couple of interruptions due to injury and a gradually declining ability to dominate a game.
As before, this is a starting point for discussion. Is this a realistic expectation for Felix? Are we expecting too much? Is he going to last this long, or will he be a burnout like, say, Jose Rijo?