Jose has become ace at an early age

JUPITER, Fla. — At an early age, Jose Fernandez has accomplished so much.

The hard-throwing right-hander broke into the big leagues at age 20 last year, and was named an All-Star. He turned 21 mid-way through the season, and finished 12-6 with a 2.19 ERA on a 100-loss Miami squad.

Jose Fernandez threw an impressive bullpen session on Tuesday.

Jose Fernandez threw an impressive bullpen session on Tuesday.

His stellar season earned him National League Rookie of the Year honors.

Entering his second big league season, Fernandez has assumed the role of ace. Marlins manager Mike Redmond has yet to officially announce his Opening Day starter, but Fernandez is the obvious choice. If that indeed plays out, Fernandez will become the youngest Opening Day starter in team history, and one of the youngest in the Majors in almost 100 years.

Josh Beckett holds the distinction of being the Marlins’ most youthful Opening Day starter. He was 22-years and 320 days old in 2003.

The Marlins face the Rockies at Marlins Park on March 31. On that day, Fernandez will be 21-years, 243 days.

Fernandez also would become the youngest Opening Day starter in the Majors since Felix Hernandez of the Mariners, who was 20 years, 359 days in 2007. And Fernandez would be the second youngest since Dwight Gooden with the Mets was 21-years, 143-days old in 1986.

STATS LLC. did some research, dating back to 1919. On their chart, if Fernandez does get the nod in the opener, he would replace Vida Blue as the 17th youngest in more than 90 seasons.

Youngest Opening Day starters since 1919

1) Catfish Hunter, KCA 20-4 04/12/1966 at Min

2) Dwight Gooden, NYM 20-144 04/09/1985 vs. StL

3) Fernando Valenzuela, LAD 20-159 04/09/1981 vs. Hou

4) Bob Feller, Cle 20-169 04/21/1939 vs. Det

5) Josh Billings, Det 20-197 04/11/1928 vs. StL

6) Gary Nolan, Cin 20-315 04/07/1969 vs. LAD

7) Felix Hernandez, Sea 20-359 04/02/2007 vs. Oak

8) Bert Blyleven, Min 21-9 04/15/1972 at Oak

9) Jerry Walker, Bal 21-67 04/19/1960 vs. Was

10) Tom Hall, Min 21-136 04/08/1969 at KC

11) Dwight Gooden, NYM 21-143 04/08/1986 at Pit

12) Bob Feller, Cle 21-165 04/16/1940 at CWS

13) Dennis Eckersley, Cle 21-190 04/10/1976 vs. Det

14) Larry Dierker, Hou 21-201 04/10/1968 vs. Pit

15) Jim Bagby Jr., Bos 21-222 04/18/1938 vs. NYY

16) Tom Poholsky, StL 21-234 04/17/1951 at Pit

17) Vida Blue, Oak 21-251 04/05/1971 at Was

Joe Frisaro

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