Print and Go Back ESPN.com: SweetSpot [Print without images]

Tuesday, July 2, 2013
Jose Fernandez's historical performance

By David Schoenfield

1. Jose Fernandez, the 20-year-old Marlins rookie, was brilliant in pitching eight scoreless innings on Miami's 4-0 win over the Padres, matching his season-best with 10 strikeouts and allowing just two hits.

2. Seventy-five of his 100 pitches were fastball, touching 97 and averaging 95.1 mph.

3. As Curt Schilling said on Baseball Tonight on Monday: "I've seen more kids reaching the big leagues this year and throwing in the mid-90s than I've ever seen before."

4. He got four strikeouts on his curveball and three on his slider. The pitchers are similar, with the curveball having a tighter break when Fernandez is on with it and the slider possessing a wider, sweeping motion while throwing a little header.

5. Fernandez has allowed a .193 average -- the same as Clayton Kershaw, fourth-best among starters behind Matt Harvey, Max Scherzer and Yu Darvish. That's some company to hang out with.

6. Is this a good time to remind everyone that Fernandez had fewer than 150 innings in the minor leagues?

7. The Marlins have been very careful with him. Monday's game was just his third 100-pitch outing, although all three have come in his past four starts as Mike Redmond has started extending him deeper into games.

8. Fernandez's Game Score: 87. The last 20-year-old pitcher with a higher one? Kerry Wood's famous 20-strikeout game in 1998. Umm.

9. Shelby Miller had the early lead in the NL Rookie of the Year Race, but Miller has struggled some his past four starts and now it's an interesting race. The numbers:

Fernandez: 5-4, 2.72 ERA, 92.2 IP, 6 HR, 33 BB, 94 SO, .193 AVG
Miller: 8-6, 2.79 ERA, 93.2 IP, 8 HR, 22 BB, 101 SO, .223 AVG

10. From the readers:

@dschoenfield baseball fans win. Fernandez a little more raw, little better pure stuff, miller has better command and feel for pitching

— Joe Carter (@jcarter5317) July 2, 2013

@dschoenfield Jose Fernandez all day, better stuff

— Vincent Ball (@Go_Blue33) July 2, 2013

@dschoenfield Fernandez for ceiling, Miller for floor

— TheBulge (@TheBulge27) July 2, 2013


11. Not to ignore Dodgers lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu, who is 6-3, 2.83, and may end up pitching a lot more innings depending on what kind of workload Fernandez and Miller are held to.

12. By the way, notice that the National League has all the best rookies so far? Fernandez, Miller, Ryu, Julio Teheran, Trevor Rosenthal, Gerrit Cole, Tony Cingrani, Yasiel Puig, Jedd Gyorko, Anthony Rendon, Marcell Ozuna, Nolan Arenado. The AL has Jurickson Profar, Wil Myers and Nick Franklin, although none have played too much yet.

13. Marlins are 14-7 over their past 21 games.

14. Imagine Fernandez and Harvey together. Well, it could have happened. The Mets drafted high school outfielder Brandon Nimmo with the 13th pick in 2011; the Marlins took Fernandez with the next pick.

15. The air of confidence. On his final out in the eighth, Fernandez snared a one-hopper back to the mound, counted the seams and finally tossed the ball to first.

16. I suspect we'll see Fernandez at the All-Star Game in a couple weeks.