Despite being only 21 years old with one full season of minor league experience under his belt, Marlins right-hander Jose Fernandez has established himself as one of the most exciting young pitchers in baseball this season. He's right up there with Matt Harvey in my book.
On Friday night, Fernandez did something Harvey yet to do in his young career: he struck out 14 batters in a game. He joined Yu Darvish (four times!), Chris Sale and Anibal Sanchez as the only pitchers to whiff 14 batters in a game this year. Here's the video:
That changeup at 0:41 is just hilarious. How are you supposed to hit that?
As good as Friday's start was, you can make a case his previous start against the Pirates was even better. Last Sunday, Fernandez struck out 13 Pittsburgh batters. Here's that video:
Just five months into his big league career, Fernandez became the first pitcher to strikeout at least 13 batters in back-to-back starts since Randy Johnson back in August 2004. Only twice in history has a pitcher struck out 13+ in three consecutive starts: Pedro Martinez in May 1999 and September 1999. Yeah, he did twice the same year.
Fernandez has gone 8-5 for a terrible Marlins team this year, pitching to a 2.54 ERA (153 ERA+) with a 1.01 WHIP and 3.21 K/BB. He was a deserving All-Star less than five years after defecting from Cuba, and right now he's the favorite for the NL Rookie of the Year award.