Friday, August 9, 2013

Jose Fernandez Is A Big Time Pitcher

The Miami Marlins are by no stretch of the imagination this year a good baseball team but like any struggling team they have a few bright spots and the brightest happens to come in the form of rookie 21 year old right hand pitcher Jose Fernandez. Here is some background Fernandez.

  • Drafted 14th overall in 2011 by the Marlins
  • Never picthed above A ball before this season started
  • Became only the 7th player in MLB history under the age of 21 to record at least 8 strikeouts in his debut since 1916
  • Named an to the all-star game at 20 years old
  • Struck out Dustin Pedroia and Chris Davis at the all-star game.

So odds are you aren't familiar with Jose Fernandez but that’s ok because most of the baseball world is slowly but surely figuring out who he is. Prior to the season starting the Marlins had a shortage of arms in the starting rotation so they rushed Fernandez to the big leagues and named him as the opening day starter. I was very critical of that move because this was a guy who hadn't pitched above A ball and now he his the opening day starter against the New York Mets, it's a pretty big jump. Fernandez quickly put to bed any doubt of good he would be for the rest of the season with a performance of 5 innings pitched 3 hits, 1 earned run and 8 strikeouts.

When you watch him pitch Fernandez does a great job establishing his fastball command and sets up his secondary pitches very well. Many baseball experts have compared Fernandez to Seattle Mariners all-star Felix Hernandez. People who aren't familiar with Fernandez might disagree but if you watch both of them pitch they have a lot of similarities. Fernandez like King Felix sets up hitters very well and can bury you with multiple pitches. He can thrown it by you with his fats ball or paint the outside corner with his curve ball. The Comparison is valid.

Statistically when you look at Jose Fernandez he is even more impressive. He has an 8-5 record on the worst team in the national league. The Marlins are not an offensive juggernaut in fact its hard to get run support when the whole team collectively has scored the 363 runs the entire season which ranks them dead last in baseball. So to be 3 games over 500 as a pitcher for them is impressive. Recently in the last few weeks he did something very historic. In his July 28th and August 2nd starts he faced 2 quality teams in the National league leading Pittsburgh Pirates and then then Cleveland Indians who are in the playoff hunt. In his start against the Pirates he has a very good outing going 8 innings giving up 2 earned runs on 5 hits with 13 strikeouts for a win. You think to yourself “ wow he can't pitch any better then that” well your wrong. Very next start against the Indians he goes 8 innings only allows 3 hits, collects 14 strikeouts and shuts out the Indians. So do the math 14+13=27 Jose Fernandez in 2 starts struck out 27 hitters. Thats just ridiculous for a guy his age to be doing that. In doing that he put his name in some elite company (see tweets below).

As you can see Fernandez put his name in same company with some former all-stars but he also has his opponents in aw of him. Rays manager Joe Maddon who is one of the best in baseball praised Fernandez.

 So the word on Jose Fernandez is finally getting out and if healthy it looks like the Marlins have an ace for years to come. The only question is how many years before he gets traded?

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