ST. LOUIS -- In order to answer the question posed in the headline above, you only need to look one place -- for now -- for an answer.

That place is the National League bullpen at Citi Field a week from Tuesday.

Much can, of course, change in the next few weeks, months and years for the Marlins. Jose Fernandez, the current rookie named Saturday as Miami's lone All-Star Game representative, may not don a Marlins uniform for eight years like Ricky Nolasco just did. As South Florida's history with pro baseball and pro baseball players has shown, this business is one defined by uncertainty.

But let's assume, for the sake of this particular debate, that Fernandez will in fact end up staying with the Marlins for a long, long time. Let's assume manager Mike Redmond's words will ring true; that Fernandez one day will be the "face of [this] franchise."

As deep, talented and promising as Miami's young group of pitchers may be, Fernandez is arguably the current leader of the pack. To go along with his All-Star Game selection, he is 5-5 with a 2.73 ERA following Sunday's 3-2 loss to the Cardinals.

In a six-inning outing -- his ninth start to last that long this season -- Fernandez allowed three runs, four hits and struck out five. He now has 99 career strikeouts, 902 shy of Nolasco's franchise-record 1,001.

Before getting traded to the Dodgers on Saturday, Nolasco surpassed the 1,000-strikeout plateau last Wednesday when he struck out seven Braves in the middle game of a three-game road set at Atlanta.

His 81 wins also are a franchise record.

For Fernandez to match Nolasco, he will have to average 125 strikeouts for the next eight years.

That certainly could happen. Entering Sunday's start, Fernandez had compiled 94 strikeouts in 92 2/3 innings pitched. While the Marlins certainly will monitor his pitch counts and numbers of innings across the next three months, one can still assume that he will not only hit 125 strikeouts this season, but that he'll greatly exceed that total.

Since the season has reached its official halfway mark from a games standpoint, we can infer that Fernandez is likely to have double the innings and double the starts he had entering Saturday's contest. If that is assumed, it means he should finish the year having started 32 games and pitched 185.1 innings. Again, because of his rookie arm, Fernandez's starts and innings could get trimmed significantly late in the second half depending upon how the season is going. He may not end up getting to 185.1 innings.

If he does, though, at his pace entering Sunday's start, he was looking at getting to 188 strikeouts by the end of the year.

An average of 188 strikeouts for eight seasons would put him beyond the 1,500-strikeout plateau. At that same pace, Fernandez would match or surpass Nolasco's 1,000 sometime near the start of his sixth season.