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Jose Fernandez is thriving for the Marlins after making the jump from Single-A at age 20

Jul 2, 2013, 10:47 AM EDT

jose fernandez fish getty Getty Images

No one has paid much attention to the Marlins because they’re so terrible, but 20-year-old right-hander Jose Fernandez is having an incredible rookie season.

Fernandez shut out the Padres for eight innings last night, striking out 10, walking one, and allowing just two hits to slice his ERA to 2.72 in 16 starts. He has a fantastic 94/33 K/BB ratio in 93 innings and has held opponents to a .193 batting average, all while jumping from Single-A to the big leagues and being the second-youngest player in baseball behind only Bryce Harper.

Fernandez has MLB’s fourth-highest average fastball velocity at 94.7 miles per hour–trailing only Matt Harvey, Stephen Strasburg, and Jeff Samardzija–and check out where his strikeout rate of 9.1 per nine innings ranks among all 20-year-old pitchers in baseball history:

Rick Ankiel      2000     9.9
Jose Fernandez   2013     9.1
Dwight Gooden    1985     8.7
CC Sabathia      2001     8.5
F. Valenzuela    1981     8.4

Say what you will about the Marlins in general, but they always seem to find a way to develop young stars and not many teams can boast a hitter-pitcher duo as young and talented as 20-year-old Jose Fernandez and 23-year-old Giancarlo Stanton.

  1. specialkindofstupid - Jul 2, 2013 at 11:05 AM

    This list makes me sad for Rick Ankiel and for the promise of what he could have been. I’m in the minority on this I’m sure, but I always held Tony LaRussa partly to blame for Ankiel losing it like he did.

    Despite having 20-game winner and veteran Darryl Kile, LaRussa chose to start the rookie Ankiel in Game 1 of the 2000 NLDS. Nerves clearly got the better of Ankiel. He threw what felt like a two dozen wild pitches and was never the same.

    Glad he was able to eventually make it back to the majors as a hitter, but still… What might have been.

    • natslady - Jul 2, 2013 at 11:09 AM

      Rick Ankiel one of my absolute faves when he was a Nat. Will never for get the time Harper bashed himself with a bat in the hallway. Says to Ankiel, “Am I OK?” Ankiel says, “You’re fine, kid,” and Harper comes on to the field bleeding non-stop while Ankiel is cracking up.

    • valarmorghuliss - Jul 2, 2013 at 1:08 PM

      Poor poor steroid user. Yes it’s LaRussa’s fault, because you know Duncan and LaRussa were pitcher killers.

  2. natslady - Jul 2, 2013 at 11:07 AM

    Kid is pretty good, have had my eye on him for a while. Wouldn’t mind missing his start next week in Miami, wouldn’t mind missing it A-TALL.

    • therealbigben - Jul 2, 2013 at 11:26 AM

      By a while you mean the last 3 months? G

      • natslady - Jul 2, 2013 at 11:40 AM

        Yep. I didn’t track him in single-A, that’s beyond my powers (at least in the Marlin’s single-A)… 😉

      • therealbigben - Jul 2, 2013 at 12:27 PM

        I dropped him back in late April from my fantasy team after 3 starts in favor of keeping Ryan Vogelsong and Brandon Belt. Uggghhh regret!

      • valarmorghuliss - Jul 2, 2013 at 1:10 PM

        Funny how some baseball fans are completely clueless to the minor leagues. Some of us have been impressed and curious about the kid for nearly 2 years.

  3. jbriggs81 - Jul 2, 2013 at 11:39 AM

    Don’t forget about Jacob Turner! He’s flown quietly under the radar this season. In his limited six starts, his ERA is now at 1.76 after Saturday’s complete game. These two could be a great one-two punch for the marlins

    • natslady - Jul 2, 2013 at 11:49 AM

      So now I gotta worry that the Fish have TWO decent young starters, plus Giancarlo?

      • biasedhomer - Jul 2, 2013 at 1:42 PM

        Don’t forget rookie Marcell Ozuna who is having a solid year and LoMo is bouncing back.

        They definitely have young talent on that team.

      • tuberippin - Jul 2, 2013 at 3:41 PM

        Don’t forget about Jake Marisnick, Marcell Ozuna, Christian Yelich, Justin Nicolino, and Andrew Heaney.

    • Old Gator - Jul 2, 2013 at 2:00 PM

      Make that one two three punch, kids. You’re forgetting Nate Eovaldi, aintcha? His last couple of starts have been pretty electric too – last time out, six shutout innings. And the guy who was supposed to be the real hot property, Henderson Alvarez, is off the DL, done with rehab and about to make his debut on Thursday. One lucky Reecky is disposed over the side in mute nostril agony, an impending event, the Feesh will sport an entire rotation whose testicles haven’t dropped yet.

      Ozuna, yes, he’s now batting around .445 with RISP. He’s terrific and will get terrificker. As far as Tweeter, pffttt. After starting off hot as returnees from long exile on the DL often do, Tweeter the mantodeaphobe is reverting to his old ways – popping up and striking out or grounding into double plays with guys in scoring position. The guy is the Calamity Jane of RISP. And like Black Hole Buck, who got off to such a torrid start for the Mutts after being quickly recycled through the Beavers like one of those nematode larvae that transits the excretia of four host species before laying its eggs and starting the whole process all over, but is now batting within his Mendoza Line comfort zone again, Tweeter will soon come back down to earth like that Russian rocket yesterday. I look for him to disappoint on balance be moved over the weenter.

      • jbriggs81 - Jul 2, 2013 at 2:27 PM

        I think it may be a little too early to start placing Eovaldi into that 1-2-3 punch. He’s only had a few starts this season and hasn’t been overly impressive in the past.

        Alvarez is awful though. I have watched him pitch in the Jays minor league system a significant amount and never thought he would be anything more than a #4 and more likely a #5. He doesn’t ever miss bats, and seems to pitch to contact without much success. Hopefully the infield is solid behind him because there are a lot of balls put in play.

      • Old Gator - Jul 2, 2013 at 3:44 PM

        In that case it should be early to project what any of them would do – none of them has all that much big league time. However, Alvarez pitched through shoulder problems all last year and missed everything from early spring training onward this year.

        Once he got his shoulder right, he has a 1.11 ERA and 15/1 K/BB ratio in 24 1/3 innings over four rehab starts between High-A Jupiter and Double-A Jacksonville.

        Since coming up last month following a DL stint Eovaldi has appeared in 3 games with a 1-0 record, a 2.00 ERA, an 0.9 WAR and a 0.94 WHIP and opposing batters are hitting .177 against him. If you’re going to included Turner in the discussion, you pretty much have to include Eovaldi.

      • unclemosesgreen - Jul 2, 2013 at 6:08 PM

        I have a deep-cover informant who passed along the following:

        West Hallandale isn’t far.

      • Old Gator - Jul 2, 2013 at 9:10 PM

        Ohboy. Heading up there tomorrow.

      • unclemosesgreen - Jul 2, 2013 at 9:28 PM

        Don’t even think of using your John Grady Cole bar Spanglish there – and if anyone asks how you got the secret location – hold your mud and forget you know my name – as the song says – thought you were the cool fool…

  4. rodge1 - Jul 2, 2013 at 11:50 AM

    Marlins has very good young core. Can’t wait until they win the World Series in 2015. Hopefully Loria will be the one to get traded away the following offseason.

    • Old Gator - Jul 2, 2013 at 2:01 PM

      I myself have a good young core. It’s my peripherals that are all out of warranty.

  5. rodge1 - Jul 2, 2013 at 11:51 AM

    (have)* a very good young core

    • jrbdmb - Jul 2, 2013 at 3:56 PM

      (had)* a very good young core.

      Stanton will be gone by the end of 2014, if not this year. Loria doesn’t have the stomach to pay Stanton what he will get in arbitration this winter and beyond.

  6. Jonny 5 - Jul 2, 2013 at 12:05 PM

    “Say what you will about the Marlins in general, but they always seem to find a way to develop young stars and not many teams can boast a hitter-pitcher duo as young and talented as 20-year-old Jose Fernandez and 23-year-old Giancarlo Stanton.”

    Well in all fairness, most teams aren’t as willing to trade away every player with known talent and value at a ML level for boatloads of prospects either. How does one judge success of a ML team?

    • stex52 - Jul 2, 2013 at 12:10 PM

      Well said, Jonny. The object of the exercise should be to win games at the major league level. When you accumulate prospects, there should be some point to it.

      • Jonny 5 - Jul 2, 2013 at 12:29 PM

        Thanks Stex, glad to see it’s only 90 in your neck of the woods today. Hey I didn’t see you last night. Did you fall asleep watching Lawrence Welk reruns again? ;>P

      • Old Gator - Jul 2, 2013 at 2:03 PM

        Tex – of course there’s a point to it. It’s to keep luxury tax dollars, so much more reliable than feeckle fan dollars, pouring down the various chutes and funnels of Scrooge McLoria’s Rube Goldberg contraption of subsidiary corporations.

  7. psunick - Jul 2, 2013 at 3:32 PM

    Better watch out, Aaron. Writing something positive about the Marlins may get you in serious trouble with HBT

  8. eightyraw - Jul 2, 2013 at 3:52 PM

    Correction: Third youngest player in MLB ( Profar – 20.33; Harper – 20.67; Fernandez – 20.92). Though he was the second youngest on an opening day roster.

    Fernandez is the youngest starting pitcher in MLB by over a year, with teammate Jacob Turner being next at the age of 22.08 years-old. If Fernandez were in AA, he’d be the fourth youngest player in the Southern League. If he had skipped just one league and not two, he would be the third youngest player in AAA. And if Fernandez were to repeat A+ ball, he’d still be the youngest player on the Greensboro Grasshoppers.

    • eightyraw - Jul 2, 2013 at 3:57 PM

      *Jacksonville Suns (Greensboro Grasshoppers are the Marlins’ A affiliate)

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