I was in Blind Onion drinking a Widmer Hefeweizen when I first saw him. Few sports moments could be more special. The kid. The King.
Hernandez made the biggest splash, going from a whisper in spring training to an ace in the Northwest League. King Felix was just 17-years-old when the M’s assigned him to Everett’s bullpen to start the year, but it was clear that he’d be in the rotation before long. His 95+ MPH fastball and hammer curve made college-polished hitters look foolish, and Hernandez never got rattled despite facing opponents with a significant advantage in experience. Upon a promotion to the Northwest League to avoid a suspension, Hernandez blew away full-season competition and simply wasn’t challenged. He managed to climb all the way to #7 on the Future Forty, and his potential is clearly higher than anyone else in the organizations. There is a long road ahead for the 17-year-old, but he’s the closest thing the M’s have to a phenom. --Dave Cameron, September 8, 2003
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