No one has paid much attention to the Marlins because they’re so terrible, but 20-year-old right-hander Jose Fernandez is having an incredible rookie season.
Fernandez shut out the Padres for eight innings last night, striking out 10, walking one, and allowing just two hits to slice his ERA to 2.72 in 16 starts. He has a fantastic 94/33 K/BB ratio in 93 innings and has held opponents to a .193 batting average, all while jumping from Single-A to the big leagues and being the second-youngest player in baseball behind only Bryce Harper.
Fernandez has MLB’s fourth-highest average fastball velocity at 94.7 miles per hour–trailing only Matt Harvey, Stephen Strasburg, and Jeff Samardzija–and check out where his strikeout rate of 9.1 per nine innings ranks among all 20-year-old pitchers in baseball history:
Rick Ankiel 2000 9.9
Jose Fernandez 2013 9.1
Dwight Gooden 1985 8.7
CC Sabathia 2001 8.5
F. Valenzuela 1981 8.4
Say what you will about the Marlins in general, but they always seem to find a way to develop young stars and not many teams can boast a hitter-pitcher duo as young and talented as 20-year-old Jose Fernandez and 23-year-old Giancarlo Stanton.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Royals and first baseman Eric Hosmer have discussed a long-term contract extension. However, Hosmer also indicated that he will head into free agency if a deal is not consummated by Opening Day.
Hosmer, 27, avoided arbitration with the Royals last month, agreeing to a $12.25 million salary for the 2017 season. He is one of four key Royals players who can become a free agent after the season along with Mike Moustakas, Alcides Escobar, and Lorenzo Cain. If Hosmer does reach free agency, he would arguably be the top free agent first baseman.
Hosmer finished the past season hitting .266/.328/.433 with 25 home runs and 104 RBI while making his first All-Star team.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Yankees have signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, pending a physical. Assuming the deal is finalized, Sherman notes that the Yankees will have Niese work as both a starter and a reliever in big league camp this spring.
According to Sherman, the Yankees were interested in lefty relievers Jerry Blevins and Boone Logan, but didn’t want to commit at their asking prices. They are looking for a lefty set-up man along with Tommy Lane.
Niese, 30, pitched for the Pirates and Mets last season, finishing with a 5.50 ERA and an 88/47 K/BB ratio over 121 innings.