Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
6 home runs, 26 RBIs, a .390 OBP, and a walk-off grand slam. Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton has had a very eventful first 18 games, and so has his young teammate Jose Fernandez. Fernandez has started three games, has a 2-1 record, a 2.66 ERA, and 33 Ks to 6 walks. Both players have gotten off to sensational starts, which will now raise the question: will the Miami Marlins, led by Fernandez and Stanton, bring home the NL Cy Young and MVP?
The easy answer is that it’s too early to tell. And not only is that the easy answer, but it’s the correct answer. Every year, players get off to hot starts, and it doesn’t always reflect how their season ends up going. So maybe it’s too early to start dishing out postseason awards, but that won’t stop us.
If history means anything, it shows that it’s possible for this to happen. It’s happened 19 times in the past actually, most recently the Detroit Tigers in 2013 (Max Scherzer and Miguel Cabrera). One thing not in Miami’s favor is that 18 of the 19 teams to pull off this feat finished either first in the league or first in their division. While Jose Fernandez and Giancarlo Stanton are exceptional players, the Marlins themselves don’t have the look of a team ready to win the NL East, let alone the National League as a whole.
Now, onto the players chances themselves. Giancarlo Stanton currently ranks 16th in OBP (.390), tied for first in home runs (6), tied for 15th in hits (23) and 6th in slugging (.605). He also ranks 8th in runs created per 27 outs, with 8.97. Stanton is simply an offensive machine. The only thing not helping his case is his 24 strikeouts, 6th most in the NL.
Stanton’s stats are impressive, and he’s one of the best all-around players in the National League, sitting with some of the top players in statistical rankings. Obviously, it’s too early to name anyone MVP, but Stanton is certainly a leading candidate with just under a month of games played.
Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Now to the other side of the field, with 21-year old Cuban star Jose Fernandez (pictured left). With an All-Star selection, a Rookie of the Year trophy, and a third place Cy Young spot, Fernandez already has an impressive list of accolades after one full season.
But in just his second season, can Jose jump from third in Cy Young voting to first?
Well, after four starts you’ll have some trouble trying to find someone who doesn’t trust Fernandez as a Cy Young favorite. He’s third in the league in strikeouts (33) and keeping his walks down as well (6). His fast start certainly isn’t something to be surprised at, considering his talent, but it’s certainly something to take note of if you’re looking at postseason award winners this fall.
Fernandez also has something else on his side; run support. He’s getting 5.25 runs per game, good for 25th in the NL, but enough where if he keeps his ERA under three, Jose won’t have any problem racking up wins. Of course, wins and losses don’t determine Cy Young winners, but they certainly help and it’s also a confidence booster for pitchers looking down the road.
The stats are certainly on Miami’s side, and they have two of the most gifted players in the league. Both Fernandez and Stanton could in theory fall apart down the stretch and put this whole argument to bed, but assuming they don’t, you have to think that Miami has a good a chance as anyone to sweep the two major player awards come November.