In his start against the Philadelphia Phillies on Monday night, Miami Marlins right-handed pitcher Jose Fernandez joined the 500-strikeout club, becoming one of the fastest players in history to accomplish the feat.
Fernandez recorded the aforementioned strikeout in the fourth inning by getting Phillies left fielder Cody Asche to go down looking. At that point, it was the tenth punchout of the game for Fernandez, who ended the evening with a total of fourteen.
To whiff 500 batters, Fernandez needed 65 starts. Only two other starting pitchers in Major League Baseball history — Yu Darvish and Dwight Gooden — have needed fewer; Darvish and Gooden needed 62 and 61 starts, respectively.
In terms of innings, however, Fernandez is the quickest starting pitcher to record 500 punchouts, needing 400 innings to do so. At 23 years old, Fernandez would have reached the milestone even quicker, if it weren’t for Tommy John surgery that cost him the majority of the 2014 and 2015 seasons.
This season, Fernandez owns a rate of 13.3 strikeouts per nine innings, a mark that leads the sport by nearly two full points. With 113.2 total innings on the year, Fernandez ranks second in the majors in strikeouts with 168, three behind Max Scherzer of the Washington Nationals, who has logged 31 more innings than Fernandez.
In eighteen starts for the Marlins this season, Fernandez is 11-4 with a 2.53 earned run average and has recorded at least ten strikeouts in seven of his outings.