This article is part of our Rebound Candidate series.
As of the conclusion of the 2014 season, Felix Hernandez had long been considered a de facto fantasy ace, rattling off a 3.06 ERA or lower in five of the previous six seasons and finishing in the top-10 overall fantasy players in three of six seasons – including when he sparkled with a 2.14 ERA in 2014.
He slipped in 2015, with a 3.53 ERA, which included a second-half stumble highlighted by a 6.60 ERA in August.
Hernandez looked like he was fixing those issues through his first nine starts last season, in which he posted a 2.21 ERA with 47 strikeouts in 57 innings. Despite that hot start, I argued for selling him. After all, he had 25 walks in that time (a whopping 3.95 per nine innings), and his velocity was questionable.
Naturally, he gave up six runs in his next start and soon after landed on the disabled list with a strained right calf. So much for flipping him to an unsuspecting owner.
After he returned on July 20, King Felix mostly looked like a jester, with a 4.48 ERA and just 69 strikeouts in 90.1 innings – while unfortunately keeping terrible control at 3.89 BB/9.
He ended with ugly numbers:
3.82 ERA (highest since 2006)
1.32 WHIP (highest since 2008)
7.16 strikeouts per nine innings (career low)
3.82 walks per nine innings (career high)
1.88 K/BB (career low)
1.12 HR/9 (career high)
Is he capable of turning things around as he turns 31 this season?