Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Elvys - There's a Fine Line Between Courage and Moron

There isn't much hope for the upcoming season, but plenty of Royals fans are pinning their slim hopes of a Royal surprise on the right arm of Runelvys Hernandez. As the conventional widsom goes, Hernandez was on his way to a sure-fire Cy Young award in 2003 before injuries derailed him.

How'd it happen? Let's hear it from the man himself.

But I'd been throwing hurt for five years. I got a problem in 1999 when I was playing in the summer league (in the Dominican Republic), but that's not going to make you stop," he said. "When you come from a poor city, you want to do extra work every day. You don't want to look bad." ...

What he had not done is tell the Royals that his elbow problem had flared up.
"I didn't think I had to tell anybody. I wanted to show my teammates that I was there to help the team," he said.

I suppose I can appreciate his work ethic, and it seems like he genuinely felt like he needed to pitch through pain in order to maintain his integrity. In the final analysis, though, it was plum stupid. Who knows what kind of additional damage he's done to his elbow from the years and years of pitching in pain without telling anyone about it, especially the serious pain he experienced for half of 2003. At some point, courage becomes idiocy, and he hurt his team a lot more by keeping quiet about it.

In any case, I've never been as high on Hernandez as many other fans. His career peripherals are thoroughly mediocre. His entire resume is based on the first month of 2003, which wasn't as great as many remember:

6G, 33IP, 22H, 16BB, 21K.

Even at this best, he walked too many batters, wasn't missing many bats, and clearly benefited from a short-run string of luck defensively. Over time, these peripherals would not sustain anything close to ~1.40 ERA.

I place Hernandez in the category of Kyle Snyder. He's probably a pretty talented pitcher, but he's going to be 27 years old this season and he's going to be a pretty serious injury risk going forward.

Frankly, I'd be surprised to see him achieve any kind of serious success in the majors.


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