Minor League Ball Gameday, September 4

Jose Fernandez - USA TODAY Sports

Miami Marlins rookie pitcher Jose Fernandez: an amazing season in historical context; Los Angeles Angels outfielder Zach Borenstein dominates the California League with a .337 average and 28 homers.

Good afternoon prospect watchers.

***Yesterday's Minor League Ball Gameday thread.

***I meant to point this out a couple of days ago, but Andrew Ball at Beyond the Boxscore had some observations about Jose Fernandez of the Miami Marlins that are worth emphasizing. Although he hasn't received a great deal of national attention for it, Fernandez is having one of the best seasons by a 20-year-old pitcher in major league history.

Barring something really strange happening in September, Fernandez will have the highest WAR of any 20-year-old pitcher since 1990. He currently has a 3.9 WAR, ahead of Felix Hernandez (3.3 in 2006), Rick Ankiel (3.1 in 2000), and CC Sabathia (2.8 in 2001).

Even more impressively, among 20-year-old pitchers since 1900, Fernandez ranks ninth at 3.9. He won't get to the top rank populated by Dwight Gooden (8.7 in 1985), Bob Feller (7.6 in 1939) or Bert Blyleven (7.3 in 1971) because he can't get close to their innings-pitched counts with modern usage patterns. However, Ball points out that Fernandez "on a rate basis, he has the second best ERA- and FIP-, trailing only Doc Gooden's unbelievable 1985 campaign."

Truly an amazing season.

***One player on my research list is Los Angeles Angels outfield prospect Zach Borenstein, who had a really good 2013 season for High-A Inland Empire , hitting .337/.403/.631 and leading the California League with 28 homers. He finished the season with three homers in his last three games, including this shot on Monday.


He was a 23rd round pick in 2011 out of Eastern Illinois University. It is generally wise to be suspicious about California League breakouts and surge performances, but I'm going to find out more about him. The Angels need all the prospects they can get.

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