Of The Mariners’ Two All-Stars; Who Is Better: Felix or Iwakuma ?

The Seattle Mariners have two All-Stars this year, and they are both starting pitchers. Hisashi Iwakuma and Felix Hernandez have been an impressive one-two punch at the top of the M’s rotation. These two guys have undoubtedly been two incredible bright spots on-what is perceived to be-one of the weakest pitching staffs in the last few seasons under Jack Z.

These two gentlemen are two of the best pitchers in the American League, and some people are beginning to wonder which pitcher is better; is it Felix Hernandez, or Hisashi Iwakuma?

To determine this, we are going to examine their K/BB, HR/9, FIP, xFIP, and WAR for the 2013 season. So let’s get to it;

Name K/BB[1] HR/9 FIP xFIP WAR
Felix Hernandez 5.42 0.80 2.70 2.61 3.2
Hisashi Iwakuma 5.72 1.26 3.66 3.30 1.8

One of the coolest sports photos in Seattle’s sports history

It isn’t even really close, Felix Hernandez is by far and away the better pitcher of the two Mariners headed to the All-Star Game. Hernandez’s vastly superior FIP, xFIP, and HR/9 show that he is better at preventing the other team from scoring runs; while his higher WAR indicates that he is more valuable to the Mariners than Iwakuma. This is just really another reminder that Felix Hernandez is a badass and all of us Mariner fans should be thankful that he is extremely confident in Jack Z’s rebuilding plan.

As for Iwakuma, he is still a very awesome pitcher. He does have a higher K/BB ratio Felix, and is still pretty good at preventing the opposing teams from scoring runs. His 3.66 FIP is the second best out of the Mariners starting pitchers. It is also the ninth best FIP out of all of the pitchers that have pitched for the Mariners so far this season.
After the “debacle” that was the Eric Bedard trade, the Mariners seem to have found a long-term #2 pitcher to follow Felix Hernandez. This time it didn’t cost them any prospects. This time, it gave them two All-Stars; and that is quite a nice thing for this franchise to have.

[1] K/BB is provided by Baseball-Reference, the other stats are provided by FanGraphs

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