In the race for the National League Rookie of the Year, Jose Fernandez has seemingly distanced himself from the pack.
The Marlins' All-Star right-hander has only gotten better as the season wears on, going from a 4.50 ERA in April to 1.15 in August. But in a duel with Miami's young gun Friday at Turner Field, the Braves' Julio Teheran continued to make quite the case for himself as the calendar turns to September.
"I tried to do my best and show everybody what I can do," Teheran said after allowing one run and four hits, while striking out eight in 6 13 innings to get the best of Fernandez (three hits, two runs and eight K's in six innings) in Atlanta's 2-1 victory.
Teheran (11-7) improved to 4-2 with a 2.23 ERA in eight starts since the All-Star break, but is it enough to supplant Kid K. -- a nickname Marlins radio commentator Glenn Geffner has bestowed upon Fernandez -- in the latest Rookie Watch? (NOTE: All stats through Sept. 2)
1. Jose Fernandez, Marlins P
10-6, 2.33 ERA, 0.996 WHIP, 173 K, 158.2 IP
He took his first loss since the break at the hands of Teheran. But Fernandez did scored the Marlins' only run against the Braves' righty off his first career triple, which was just his second extra-base hit of the season. Fernandez also added a bit of history as he fanned Chris Johnson in the first inning to eclipse Scot Olsen's franchise record of 166 strikeouts by a rookie set in 2006 and he did it in 158 23 innings, compared to the 180 23 it took Olsen. Fernandez would end the month with 49 K's in 39 innings, second only to Ricky Nolasco's 51 in 2008 among all Marlins in August. For what its worth, Kid K. does have the support of a certain diaper dandy-loving hoops analyst.
2. Yasiel Puig, Dodgers OF
.351.411.564, 14 HR, 32 RBI, 10 SB
He put a scare into Dodgers fans, leaving Monday's game with a mild knee sprain after an awkward slide into third base. He's reportedly day-to-day, though with a comfortable lead in the NL West, manager Don Mattingly can afford to give him some rest. He continues to mash, posting multi-hit games in four of the last seven -- including going 4-for-5 with a double, an RBI and two steals last Thursday against the Padres, a day after he was pulled for disciplinary reasons -- but Puig is also showing an increased ability to draw walks. After having 13 in his first 199 plate appearances, the Dodger has 14 walks in 129 since Aug. 1 to increase his walk rate to 7.6 percent. He also gets high marks for rubbing elbows with Michael Corleone's protege, Vincent Mancini (Andy Garcia).
3. Julio Teheran, Braves P
11-7, 3.01 ERA, 1.196 WHIP, 148 K, 161.1 IP
The Braves are working to get him some rest over the final month of the season, skipping Teheran's start this week as he's already pitched 161 13 innings and has never gone over 164 13 as a professional. Any further missed starts will certainly impact his Rookie of the Year candidacy, but Teheran makes an interesting case to go where no rookie pitcher has ever gone before as the first to win a Gold Glove. With six defensive runs saved, Teheran trails the Blue Jays' R.A. Dickey, the major league leader, by two and the Braves' eight pickoffs are two more than anyone else has.
4. Nolan Arenado, Rockies 3B
.271.304.419, 10 HR, 47 RBI
Another rookie who has put together a Gold Glove-resume, Arenado is looking to become the sixth position player in history to win the award and the first since Ichiro Suzuki did it in 2001. He makes a compelling case, ranking third in MLB with 29 DRS, he's fourth among all players with a 27.5 UZR150 and is second in that department among third basemen, behind only the Orioles' Manny Machado (20.6). Arenado's not all-glove though, providing 13 go-ahead RBI and eight game-winning RBI and since Aug. 1 he's posted a .321.339.459 slash line with 11 extra-base hits, including eight doubles.
5. Jose Iglesias, Tigers SS
.319.366.397, 14 2B, 24 RBI
Offensively, Iglesias' numbers are down since his July 30 trade from the Red Sox to the Tigers, hitting .293.343.370 with five extra-base hits in Motown compared to .330.376.409 with 18 extra-base hits in Boston. But defensively, Iglesias continues to be a wizard, including Monday's double play in his return to Fenway Park, in which he fielded Dustin Pedroia's dribbler on the first-base side of second, tagged Shane Victorino on the hit-and-run and then fired to first. "You just cant practice a play like that," manager Jim Leyland said. "If somebody tells me they practice a play like that, Ill tell them theyre lying because that doesnt happen." Who is the game's best young shortstop, Iglesias or the Braves' Andrelton Simmons? Let the debate commence.