Jose Fernandez furthered his Rookie of the Year case Saturday, hurling seven scoreless innings versus the Rockies to improve to 10-5 on the season.
A.J. Ramos and Steve Cishek finished the 3-0 shutout.
Fernandez has overtaken Shelby Miller, Julio Teheran and Hyun-Jin Ryu over the last couple of months to head the rookie class of NL pitchers. It’s quite a group. Those four were among the 11 NL starters with sub-3.00 ERAs at the start of the day, and oddly enough, all four were slated to start today. Teheran and Ryu did see their ERAs jump over 3.00 in losses. Teheran’s Braves were defeated by Miller’s Cardinals.
Here’s how all four stand at the moment:
Fernandez: 10-5, 2.30 ERA in 152 2/3 IP
Miller: 12-8, 2.90 ERA in 139 2/3 IP
Teheran: 10-7, 3.08 ERA in 155 IP
Ryu: 12-5, 3.08 ERA in 160 2/3 IP
Fernandez has a chance to finish with one of the lowest ERAs ever for a 20-year-old hurler. Here are the low marks since 1901 (min 162 IP):
1.39 – Harry Krause (1909 Athletics)
1.53 – Dwight Gooden (1985 Mets)
1.65 – Walter Johnson (1908 Senators)
1.69 – Smokey Joe Wood (1910 Red Sox)
2.37 – Johnny Lush (1906 Athletics)
2.41 – Christy Mathewson (1901 Giants)
2.44 – Babe Ruth (1915 Red Sox)
2.48 – Fernando Valenzuela (1981 Dodgers)
The Marlins are cutting Fernandez off at 170 innings this year, so he’d seem to have three starts left at the most. That may hurt his chances in the competition with Yasiel Puig for Rookie of the Year honors.
Outfielder Michael Bourn was traded by the Diamondbacks to the Orioles late last season and hit a solid .283/.358/.435 in 55 plate appearances with them through the end of the season. While that’s not enough to outweigh the miserable season he had in Arizona, it was enough to get the O’s to give him a look in spring training with a minor league deal. They signed him to one in late February.
Then, a couple of days later, Bourn broke his finger while playing catch with a football. Unable to play, the O’s cut him. In early April, once Bourn healed, the O’s signed him again. He played 11 games for their Triple-A affiliate and went 9-for-41 with ten walks in 51 plate appearances. While that makes for a decent OBP, his lack of any sort of pop or good contact suggests that if someone throws him strikes, he can’t do much with the ball.
As such, the O’s had not called him up to Baltimore. And as a result of that, Bourn exercised his opt-out rights and became a free agent.
Someone may take a look at him given that his batting eye seems to be intact and given that, in an admittedly small sample size, he still performed last season. But if he does get a look, it’ll likely be back at the minor league level.
The new Collective Bargaining Agreement commits the players and the league to regular season games on foreign soil. Most of the focus of this has been on games in London, for which there has been a lot of activity and discussion.
Yesterday before the Astros-Tigers game in Houston, however, Commissioner Rob Manfred talked about playing games in Mexico. And not as just a one-off, but as a foot-in-the-water towards possible expansion:
Commissioner Rob Manfred said Tuesday that the time had come to play regular-season games in Mexico City as Major League Baseball weighs international expansion.
“We think it’s time to move past exhibition games and play real live ‘they-count’ games in Mexico,” Manfred said. “That is the kind of experiment that puts you in better position to make a judgement as to whether you have a market that could sustain an 81-game season and a Major League team.”
A team in Mexico could make some geographic sense and some marketing sense, though it’s not clear if there is a city that would be appropriate for that right now. Mexico City is huge but it has plenty of its own sports teams and is far away from the parts of the country where baseball is popular (mostly the border states and areas along the Pacific coast). At 7,382 feet, its elevation would make games at Coors Field look like the Deadball Era.
Monterrey has been talked about — games have been played there and it’s certainly closer — but it’s somewhat unknown territory demographically speaking. It’s not as big as Mexico City, obviously. Income stratification is greater there and most of the rest of Mexico than it is in the United States too, making projections of how much discretionary income people may spend on an expensive entertainment product like Major League Baseball uncertain. Especially when they have other sports they’ve been following for decades.
Interesting, though. It’s something Manfred has talked about many times over the years, so unlike so many other things he says he’s “considering” or “hasn’t ruled out,” Major League Baseball in Mexico is something worth keeping our eyes on.