Justin Verlander or Felix Hernandez: The Great Debate—Who's Better?

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Justin Verlander or Felix Hernandez: The Great Debate—Who's Better?
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

There is no wrong or right answer. Whenever two things are similar, we feel the need to compare them. We want to have a definitive yes or no, and we don't like the idea of things being seen as equal or the same. Something has to be better or worse than something else, and it is through debate that we are able to broadcast our opinions on such matters.

Justin Verlander and Felix Hernandez are two of the American League's finest pitchers. They are both young hard-throwers who have been heavily touted since they first arrived at the big league level. With their tall frames, clutch performances and great success thus far in their careers, these two players cannot help but being compared.

The question I ask is, who is better?

 

Justin Verlander Career Statistics

Age 28

90-55 record, 3.72 ERA, 1,058 strikeouts

1.231 WHIP, 8.2 K/9 and 2.9 B/9

All-Star 2007, 2009, 2010

Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

2006 Rookie of the Year

Best season: 19-9, 3.45 ERA, 269 strikeouts

Worst season:11-17, 4.84 ERA, 163 strikeouts

Two no-hit games

 

Felix Hernandez Career Statistics

Age 25

78-58 record, 3.20 ERA, 1,145 strikeouts

1.22 WHIP, 8.2 K/9, 2.8 BB/9

2009 All-Star

2010 American League Cy Young

Best Season: 19-5, 2.49 ERA, 232 strikeouts (not Cy Young season)

Worst Season: 12-14, 4.52 ERA, 176 strikeouts

 

If you look at the stats above, you will see that the two players are quite comparable. Both have similar career ERAs and strikeout numbers, and both debuted in 2005. Their strikeouts and walks per nine innings are almost identical. Verlander has a better win-loss record than Felix, but that is most likely the result of Justin playing on better teams than Hernandez has throughout his career.

Both players have similar styles and are considered to be some of the hardest throwers in the leagues. They average high strikeout totals and walk few. Felix has age on his side, as he is nearly three years younger than is Verlander.

Apart from Verlander's one poor season in 2007, he has been more consistent than has "King" Felix, and his two no-hit games speak for themselves—although few can doubt that when it's all said and done, Hernandez will have a no-hitter or two in his arsenal.

Hard-throwing, young, talented pitchers on contending teams. The potential is sky-high for both of these competitors. The question is, who would you rather have?

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