Discovered by a scout as a 14-year-old scraping 90 mph in 2000, the Mariners signed Felix Hernandez in July of 2002, not long after the right-hander turned 16.
After a breakout professional season in 2003 as a 17-year-old, Hernandez was named the Mariners’ minor league pitcher of the year in 2004, a year that saw him reach Double-A as an 18-year-old.
King Felix made his major league debut in early August of the following season, making him the youngest pitcher (19) to start a game since the Cincinnati Reds’ Jose Rijo in 1984.
Since then, the now-26-year-old has put together quite the big-league résumé: 95-72, 21 CG, 7 SHO, 3.18 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 8.3 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 in 228 starts (1,552.1 IP).
His best season to date came in 2010, when he was 13-12 with six complete games, 2.27 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 8.4 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9. He was named the American League’s Cy Young.
A product of excellent international scouting, Hernandez’s success story is something that every organization hopes to replicate. In recent years, teams have heavily invested in international prospectsin hopes of finding more King Felixes working their way through the minor leagues.
Here are 10 international signees who could be the next Felix Hernandez.