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Marlins make Fernandez youngest opening day starter in seven years

By Mike Axisa | Baseball Writer

Jose Fernandez has been named the Marlins' opening days starter.
Jose Fernandez has been named the Marlins' opening days starter. (USATSI)

MORE: Spring Training | Marlins season preview | Likes, dislikes | Over/unders

To no one's surprise, Marlins manager Mike Redmond announced Jose Fernandez will be the team's opening day starter in a few weeks. The right-hander was named NL Rookie of the Year and finished third in the Cy Young voting last season.

At 21 years and 274 days old, Fernandez will be the youngest opening day starter since Felix Hernandez got the ball in Game 1 for the 2007 Mariners at 20 years and 359 days of age. The youngest opening day starter in Marlins history was previously Josh Beckett, who was 22 years and 320 days in 2003.

The last pitcher to start opening day at age 21 was Dwight Gooden for the 1986 Mets, believe it or not. He was 21 years and 143 days old at the time. It was his second opening day start.

Fernandez went 12-6 with a 2.19 ERA (176 ERA+) last season. He led baseball in hit rate (5.8 H/9) and struck out 187 batters with a 3.22 K/BB in 172 2/3 innings before being shut down in September.

The Marlins open their regular season at home on March 31 against the Rockies.

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