Last chance to see Jose Fernandez

September, 11, 2013
9/11/13
5:22
PM ET
Miami Marlins rookie phenom Jose Fernandez will make his final start of the season tonight, as the Marlins cap his innings total at about 170. What a season it's been for the 21-year-old -- he didn't turn 21 until July 31, so this is actually considered his age-20 season -- who stands at 11-6 with a 2.23 ERA while leading the National League in fewest hits allowed and most strikeouts per nine innings.

He leads all major league starters in opponents' batting average (.181), slugging percentage (.260) and OPS (.516). He's been even more dominant since June 1: 1.59 ERA, 21 runs in 17 starts, .159 average allowed. My lord; those are Pedro-in-his-prime numbers.

How tough has Fernandez been to hit? Here's the list of lowest slugging percentages allowed, minimum 162 innings, since 1950:

Bob Gibson, 1968: .236
Sam McDowell, 1965: .244
Dean Chance, 1964: .244
Nolan Ryan, 1972: .246
Nolan Ryan, 1977: .256
Greg Maddux, 1995: .258
Pedro Martinez, 2000: .259
Greg Maddux, 1994: .259
Jose Fernandez, 2013: .260
Luis Tiant, 1969: .262

His OPS allowed is 11th-best since 1950, just ahead of Clayton Kershaw this year and just ahead of Dwight Gooden in 1985 for best by a 20-year-old. Speaking of Gooden, he threw 276 innings that year so his season was much more valuable than Fernandez's, since Fernandez has pitched 165 innings. Still, here's the list of highest WAR totals for a 20-year-old since 1950:

Dwight Gooden, 1985: 12.1 (!)
Bert Blyleven, 1971: 6.4
Don Drysdale, 1957: 6.1
Jose Fernandez, 2013: 5.9
Dave Rozema, 1977: 5.7
Dennis Eckersley, 1975: 5.3
Fernando Valenzuela, 1981: 4.8
Frank Tanana, 1974: 4.7

Among recent pitchers, Rick Ankiel was at 3.3 in 2000, CC Sabathia at 2.9 in 2001 and Felix Hernandez at 1.3 in 2006.

SportsNation

Which pair would you rather have?

  •  
    68%
  •  
    32%

Discuss (Total votes: 981)

By the way, here's a question Eric Karabell posed to me the other day: Which pair would you rather, Fernandez and Giancarlo Stanton, or Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper?

Fernandez is under Marlins control through 2018; Stanton is under Marlins control 2016. Strasburg is under Nationals control through 2016; Harper through 2018. So you get the same number of years with each pair. Strasburg's season has sort of flown under the radar with his 7-9 record, but he's nearly as tough to hit as Fernandez with a .204 average and .304 slugging.

Tonight's matchup against Mike Minor and the Braves is hardly the most important game of the night, but I know I'll tune in for at least few innings to catch a last glimpse of one of the game's rising stars.


David Schoenfield | email

SweetSpot blogger

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.