Shove All Day
This past off-season the Marlins made one of the most selfish moves in recent baseball history. They convinced the city of Miami to build a fancy new stadium, complete with a ridiculous dolphin statue that lights up after homeruns . From there they promised to return the revenue back into on field talent. They had appeared to be sticking to that promise, by signing Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, and Heath Bell. However after just one unsuccessful season they traded all 3 guys, along with other expensive talented players like Josh Johnson, for a completely underwhelming package. There was strong rumblings that superstar slugger Giancarlo Stanton was fed up with owner Jeffrey Loria, who already uplifted the Expos from Montreal, and wanted out. Everything pointed to all future moves being made with money being the number one consideration. This Spring Training there was a 20 year old Cuban pitcher that was making scouts drool all over themselves. He had never pitched above High A, and was holding his own against Major Leaguers. All indications were the Marlins were going to send him to AA, and probably keep him in the minors until past the Super 2 deadline of 2014. Quite frankly nobody would have blamed them, it would have been the practical thing to do. Boy am I glad they went against conventional thinking, and let Jose Fernandez be in the big leagues, because he is a whole lot of fun.
Earlier today the Marlins were facing the Nationals, with Fernandez on the mound. It should not surprise anybody that he was dominant yet again. He had 9 strikeouts, while recording more hits as a batter(2) than baserunners allowed(1). Yusmeiro Petit took a perfect game into the 9th, and Scott Kazmir had 12 strikeouts with no walks, and the case can still be made that Fernandez had the best outing of the day. These great outings are nothing new for Fernandez. It was his 6th scoreless start this year, in which he has had at least 8 K’s. He has allowed 2 or fewer runs in 22 of 27 starts. If Clayton Kershaw didn’t exist he would probably be the front runner for the Cy Young award. This is still his age 20 season, that is insane. Hernandez currently leads baseball in batting average against, and has a chance at the best since 1945, the first year with data, of any National Leaguer. He has been particularly dominant at home. Opponents just cant hit him in Marlins Park, and when they do the ball doesn’t go anywhere. In 91 home innings this year Hernandez has allowed only 67 total bases. His .211 home slugging percentage against is currently the 6th best since 1945 for a pitcher with at least 80 innings. He doesn’t walk any batters at home either. Over his last 5 home starts he has only allowed 4 free passes, while striking out 52 batters. Again that is a 52:4 strikeout to walk rate over his last 5 home starts. It does not get much better than that.
Today Fernandez broke a random, but still very impressive Major League record. He is the first pitcher in history to have 14 straight games with at least 5 innings pitched and 5 or fewer hits allowed. At a time in the season when young pitchers are usually being shutdown he is getting stronger. Going into today he has saved 20.2 runs on his cutter alone, according to PITCHf/x data. No other has had a cutter worth more than 15 runs above average. He also has a very dominant regular fastball. It is currently tied for 10th in the league at 11.4 runs above average. Players who just started being able to legally drink are not supposed to be doing these things. Jose Fernandez is incredible, and it should be a blast to watch him grow through the years.
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