At 23 years of age and 400 innings into his major league career, Jose Fernandez became not only the youngest starting pitcher ever to reach 500 strikeouts, but he also reached that milestone the fastest.
He’s not the fastest pitcher in general to reach that mark, though. Aroldis Chapman reached 500 strikeouts in just 292 innings, which is just flat out ridiculous. Fernandez got there in 400 innings, which breaks the record that was set by Yu Darvish in 2014 (401.2 innings) for starting pitchers, only Darvish was 27 years old when he reached the 500-strikeout plateau. Fernandez tied a career high with 14 strikeouts against the Phillies in order to break Darvish’s record, while 14 of the 19 outs that were recorded while he was on the mound were strikeouts.
Seven of Fernandez’s 18 starts this year have been double digit strikeout games, as the right-hander trails only the Nationals’ Max Scherzer by three strikeouts for the MLB lead (171). As we all know, the National League is LOADED with starting pitching, so while Fernandez is closing in on the MLB lead in strikeouts, he has 27 more than the league leader in the American League (David Price). What’s even scarier is that it seems like Fernandez is only getting stronger as the season goes along. Last night, he hit 100 MPH on the gun for the second time this season. He explained how the All Star break helped, but his max velocity in four of his last five starts before the All Star break were all over 99 MPH.