Last night Felix Hernandez beat the Red Sox while racking up seven strikeouts in 7.2 innings of two-run ball and in doing so became the fourth-youngest pitcher in baseball history to reach 1,000 career strikeouts.
Here are the leaders, according to Elias Sports Bureau:
Bob Feller 1941 22 years, 179 days
Bert Blyleven 1974 23 years, 131 days
Dwight Gooden 1988 23 years, 249 days
Felix Hernandez 2010 24 years, 139 days
That’s an interesting list, because while Blyleven ranks fifth all time with 3,701 career strikeouts neither Feller nor Gooden crack the top 25. Feller ranks 26th with 2,581 and Gooden ranks 46th with 2,293.
As for King Felix this season, poor run support from the Mariners’ horrendous offense leaves him with a 10-10 record despite leading the league with 205 innings and posting a career-best 2.47 ERA that ranks third in the AL. Last season he finished second in the Cy Young voting while posting a 2.49 ERA in 239 innings, but also had a 19-5 record to help his cause with voters.
Free agent outfielder Michael Saunders has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Royals, the team announced Friday. While the move comes just two days after Saunders agreed to terms with the Pirates, he allegedly asked for his release after the club acquired outfielder Corey Dickerson in a multi-player swap with the Rays on Thursday.
After earning his first spot on an All-Star team in 2016, Saunders followed up a solid campaign with a career-worst performance in 2017. The 31-year-old split the season between the Phillies and Blue Jays’ camps, batting a combined .202/.256/.344 with six home runs and -0.7 fWAR in 234 plate appearances. Although he remained healthy throughout the year, with no sign of the lingering hamstring strain that has plagued him on and off since 2013, he wasn’t productive enough to merit a full-time role on either roster.
With Dickerson slated for a starting role in Pittsburgh, it was unlikely that Saunders would have commanded anything other than a backup role in 2018. Now, however, he’ll compete for playing time amid a slew of outfield options, including Alex Gordon, Cody Asche, Jorge Bonifacio, Tyler Collins and Paulo Orlando.