Marlins’ star right-hander José Fernandez has died tragically in a boating accident, aged only 24. The Cuban-born Fernandez, whose family arrived in America only after three attempts to defect, won the 2013 RoY, underwent successful Tommy John surgery in 2014 from which he returned to action in 2015, and posted a stellar 2016 season, leading the majors in FIP and SO/9.
More after the jump on the brief but brilliant career of José Fernandez.
Here is Fernandez’s career.
|162 Game Avg.||17||8||.691||2.58||34||34||211||63||264||150||2.43||1.054||6.8||0.6||2.7||11.2||4.21|
That 176 ERA+ in 2013 is the best of the live ball era in a qualified rookie season, and second only to Dwight Gooden‘s 229 in 1985 in any qualified season before age 21. Fernandez’s majors leading 5.8 H/9 in his rookie season is the 11th lowest mark in any qualified season since 1901, and the best by a rookie, by any pitcher aged 21 or younger, and by any live ball era right-handed pitcher aged 24 or younger. Despite having his career interrupted by Tommy John surgery that sidelined him for most of 2014 and 2015, Fernandez is the only live ball era starting pitcher with ERA and FIP both under 3 in 50+ IP in each of his first four seasons.
Fernandez’s start to his pitching career has few parallels in major league history, with his 150 career ERA+ ranking second since 1901 among pitchers with 75 career starts through age 23. Here’s that list.
|1||Smoky Joe Wood||151||127||6.73||2.62||1.080||1908||1913||18-23||100||24||92||48||.657||1145.1||2.00||2.20||BOS|
An impressive group to say the least. Fernandez leads the group in SO/9 and ranks second in WHIP and third in W-L%, the latter mark particularly impressive considering the teams Fernandez played on. Fernandez is the only pitcher, regardless of ERA+, with a SO/BB ratio above 4 in 75+ starts through age 23.
Fernandez is one of only 20 pitchers (out of 287) since 1913 to record quality starts in two-thirds of 50+ starts through age 23. His performance at home was particularly impressive, with a remarkable 29-2 record from a 1.49 ERA and 0.918 WHIP in 42 home starts. Included was a run of 26 home starts without a loss, the longest searchable streak by any pitcher to begin his career.
Fernandez was a complete pitcher with four pitches that he used frequently. Of 131 pitchers with 400 IP for 2013 to 2016, Fernandez was the youngest of only 25 to throw his slider, curveball and changeup all more than 10% of the time (with Trevor Bauer of the Indians the only other pitcher of the group to do so through age 25). Of 23 pitchers since 2002 with 400 IP through age 23, only Felix Hernandez, CC Sabathia and Zack Greinke matched Fernandez with 10% sliders, curveballs and changeups. Of that same group of 23, Fernandez’s 95.2 mph fastball velocity is the top mark.
RIP José. We will miss you.