In the last month, Felix Hernandez has put himself in the AL Cy Young award discussion, and might be the favorite to win the award. We all remember the dominance of his perfect game against the Rays on 8/15. And two days ago he pitched 9 more shutout innings against the Twins. I'm hearing discussion about Felix everywhere I go: radio, internet, ESPN. Everyone is raving about this guy and rightly so. But there's another pitcher that I would argue has had an overall better month than King Felix. His name is Kris Medlen, and unless you're a Braves fan, you might not even know that he exists.
I know it's a small sample size. I know that King Felix has done it over the course of a career. But I'm talking simply about the past month--the same month that saw Kris Medlen pitch 28 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings (and counting!). The same month that began with uncertainty regarding Medlen's viability in the starting rotation. What Medlen is doing is simply amazing, and no one seems to be noticing it. He is pitching BETTER than King Felix.
Let's compare the past 6 starts of each pitcher. Granted, Hernandez has a perfect game in here, but that only makes Medlen's totals over that time even more impressive.
Innings Pitched: Meds (40.2) Felix (48.2)
Felix has the edge here, but it's only because Medlen was getting stretched out from the bullpen during the first 3 starts. On 7/31 he only used 57 pitches in his 5 innings of work. On 8/5 he was pulled after 79 pitches, and on 8/11 Fredi limited him to 88 pitches. Had he been stretched out, this total would probably be closer to 46 innings pitched for Meds.
Strikeouts: Meds (38) Felix (37)
This is impressive and surprising. Even with the innings pitched advantage, Meds has the edge in strikeouts over this 6 game stretch. That change-up is dominating opposing batters almost to the tune of a K per inning.
FIP: Meds (2.09) Felix (2.40)
I'm new to the advanced statistics stuff, but FIP is ERA adjusted to league average fielding and base running. It focuses on aspects that the pitcher can control, like strikeouts, walks, HBPs, and homeruns. On FanGraphs scale, 2.90 is considered excellent. Both of these guys are off the charts, but Medlen is obviously on top. By the way, Kimbrel's FIP is .80 for the season!
Let's keep it going!