Despite falling 4-2 to the San Diego Padres on Sunday, the Miami Marlins still have a 5-2 record on the season. Few, if anybody, would probably raise their hand if they had the Marlins winning five of its first seven games. I know I didn’t and I admit I was wrong. Baseball is a marathon, not a sprint. So there’s obviously plenty of time to see if this is just a hot start and the Marlins fizzle or if this team is for real. However, no matter what the team does this season, it seems pretty certain Jose Fernandez is for real.
Thru his first two starts, a sophomore slump is not in the cards for the reigning NL Rookie of the Year. At 21, there are so many adjectives to describe how much in awe people should be whenever he steps onto the mound. Clayton Kershaw has won two Cy Young Awards since 2011 and he may want to squeeze onto his one from last year real tightly, as Fernandez could own that honor for years to come. Thru the first week of the season, Fernandez has an NL leading 17 strikeouts, a 0.789 WHIP and an MLB best 544 ERA+.
One should remember he finished third in the NL Cy Young voting in 2013 and it would’ve been hard for anybody besides Kershaw to have won that award last year. For now, with the 26-year-old southpaw on the shelf, Fernandez looks like the person to beat in that race so far in the season. Batters are hitting just .174 off him. If a member of the opposition is looking to get on base against this kid, it’s not going to be easy. Only two batters have drawn a walk against him and he hasn’t beaned anybody. He has demonstrated remarkable control and it would be rather difficult to name a more worthy pitcher of the NL Cy Young during this early point in the season.
The Marlins have certainly gotten off to a surprise start, but Fernandez being part of that shouldn’t surprise anyone. There are so many fantastic pitchers in this game: Clayton Kershaw, Justin Verlander, Adam Wainwright, Yu Darvish, Chris Sale, Felix Hernandez to name a few and certainly Fernandez belongs in that upper echelon of elite pitchers at this point in his career. If this Marlins team is for real, the team’s ace is certainly going to play a huge role in all of that. Even if the club falls back down to earth, Fernandez is still going to be a treat to watch this season. One should not forget the things Kershaw is capable of doing, but right now, anybody who wants to take the NL Cy Young from Fernandez has their work cut out for them.