Jose Fernandez virtually irreplacable

Jose Fernandez is headed to the disabled list with an elbow sprain, with Miami Marlins management reportedly fearing that he’ll need surgery and be lost for the season.

Jose Fernandez

FernandezFernandez has a 2.25 ERA in his career, second-best among pitchers over the last two seasons. Opponents are hitting .183 with a .525 OPS against him for his career. Those numbers are the lowest for anyone in the majors over that same span.

Fernandez rates fourth among pitchers in Wins Above Replacement, trailing only Clayton Kershaw, Cliff Lee and Adam Wainwright.

Since earned runs became an official stat in 1913, 132 pitchers have thrown at least 200 innings through their age-21 season. Only two of them have a lower ERA than Jose Fernandez’s 2.25- Al Mamaux (who pitched from 1913 to 1915) and Babe Ruth (who pitched from 1914 to 1916).

The Marlins have won 64 percent of Fernandez’s starts (he's 12-0 in his career at Marlins Park). They’ve won only 36 percent of starts with their other starting pitchers.

The telling sign for the Marlins in knowing that something was amiss was Fernandez’s fastball velocity. He averaged only 90.7 mph on his fastball in the last two innings of his start against the Padres last Friday. He’d been consistently averaging 94 to 96 mph in his three starts prior to that.