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.
Former Red Sox right-hander Nathan Eovaldi is up for grabs this offseason, and Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe says that as many as nine suitors are interested in bringing the righty aboard. While the Red Sox are eager to retain Eovaldi’s services after his lights-out performance during their recent postseason run, they’ll have to contend with the Brewers, Phillies, Braves, White Sox, Padres, Blue Jays, Giants, and Angels — all of whom are reportedly positioned to offer something for the starter this winter.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing for the 28-year-old in 2018, however. After losing his 2017 season to Tommy John surgery, he underwent an additional procedure to remove loose bodies from his right elbow in March and didn’t make his first appearance until the end of May. He was flipped for lefty reliever Jalen Beeks just prior to the trade deadline and finished his season with a combined 6-7 record in 21 starts, a 3.81 ERA, 1.6 BB/9, and 8.2 SO/9 through 111 innings.
Despite his numerous health issues over the last few years, Eovaldi raised his stock in October after becoming a major contributor during the Red Sox’ championship run. He contributed two quality starts in the ALDS and ALCS and returned in Games 1-3 of the World Series with three lights-out performances in relief — including a six-inning effort in the 18-inning marathon that was Game 3.
A frontrunner has yet to emerge for the righty this offseason, but Cafardo points out that the nine teams listed so far might just be the tip of the iceberg. Still, he won’t be the most sought-after starter on the market, as former Diamondbacks southpaw Patrick Corbin is expected to command an even bigger payday following his career-best 6.0-fWAR performance in 2018.