Each month at Prospect Insider we recognize a pair of Seattle Mariners — one pitcher and one batter — who have put up outstanding performances in the previous month. In May, Felix Hernandez and Robinson Cano took home the honors for Mariners of the month. Let’s take a look at if either were able to defend their title in June.
Felix Hernandez, SP — 6 GS, 4-1, 44 1/3 IP, 1.22 ERA, 1.36 FIP, 1.67 xFIP, 54 K, 6 BB
After a dominating month of May, King Felix followed it up with an even better month of June. To say he has been dominant over that stretch would be a tremendous understatement. The 28-year old went at least seven innings in each of his six starts this past month and on two occasions pitched eight or more. Two of those outings he allowed no earned runs, two he allowed a single earned run, and the other two he allowed just two earned runs. In his June 29th start against the Cleveland Indians he allowed just one fifth-inning hit in his eight shutout innings of work. He now carries a streak of nine consecutive starts in which he’s pitched seven or more innings and given up two or fewer earned runs. You’d have to go back to May 12th to find a start that Felix allowed more than a pair of runs in.
Felix’s 54 strikeouts compared to just six walks in June is on the verge of insanity. One particular outing in June against the Tampa Bay Rays he struck out 15 batters in only seven innings. His FIP for that game was -0.76. Yes, you read that correctly. The King allowed a single home run in June and his FIP now sits at a 1.95 mark on the year and he’s brought his fWAR up to an outstanding 4.8 with half a season still to be played.
I was fortunate enough to attend two of Felix’s starts in June — against the Indians on Sunday and against the Texas Rangers on June 13th — and I have to agree with what many have said about Hernandez: he’s simply on another level in 2014. If you have the chance, make sure you see the King in person this year; there’s something even more special than usual about it.
Fernando Rodney, RP — 12 G, 9 SV, 11 2/3 IP, 1.54 ERA, 1.30 FIP, 1.84 xFIP, 12 K, 1 BB
Kyle Seager, 3B — 118 PA, .309/.350/.536, 147 wRC+, .227 ISO, 9 2B, 3 3B, 4 HR, 22 RBI, 2 SB
Seager, simply Seager. The Mariners’ third baseman has been on an absolute tear since the end of April and had a six-game hit streak snapped on the last day of June. His .536 slugging percentage in June places him 24th in the majors among qualified hitters and his 22 runs batted in has him tied with Adrian Beltre for the most of any third baseman for the month. Seager also had 10 multi-hit games and a pair of contests in which he recorded four hits, all while playing above average defence at the third corner.
What’s possibly even more outstanding is the fact Seager has been doing most of his work in the not so hitter friendly confines of Safeco Field. The 26-year old now owns a .357 batting average, 202 wRC+, and .301 ISO at home on the season, all of which are outstanding numbers. Seager’s cemented himself as a key part in the middle of the M’s batting order behind Cano and Prospect Insider’s Jason A. Churchill outlined why Seattle needs to lock-up their star infielder now.
Robinson Cano, 2B — 115 PA, .307/.391/.485, 147 wRC+, .178 ISO, 6 2B, 4 HR, 17 RBI
Brad Miller*, SS — 94 PA, .298/.355/.512, 139 wRC+, .214 ISO, 1 2B, 1 3B, 5 HR, 12 RBI
*While Cano was my choice for runner-up this month, I couldn’t help but make note of Miller’s resurgence at the plate of late and how his contributions to the lineup have been a big part of the Mariners’ recent success. Now if only Dustin Ackley could occupy that spot a month from now.