Around the All-Star break, Jayson Stark posted an article discussing MLB’s elusive “face of the game.” The nature of baseball ensures that Stark’s topic, while interesting, will always remain trivial. The silliness of Stark’s brainstorm session didn’t stop MLB Network from asking the same question for the Marlins weeks later with a poll that was never going to end well.
When asked who the “face of the Marlins” was, noted art collector Jeffery Loria, “Nobody,” and the Miami, “light-that-baby-up” outfield structure gained more votes than rookie pitcher Jose Fernandez.
This afternoon, Fernandez was awarded NL Rookie of the Month for the month of July. Fernandez allowed all of eight runs in his five July starts, pitching 35 innings. The 21-year old complimented his dominance with 40 strikeouts, including a 13-strikeout game against NL Central leading Pittsburgh Pirates.
For Marlins fans, the entire month of July felt like huge leap in the maturation of Jose Fernandez. Since announcing the top prospect would help contribute to an already maimed Miami rotation this season, fans have seen Fernandez evolve from a hard-throwing kid with a wicked curve ball and noticeable control issues, to the lone Miami All-Star retiring Dustin Pedroia, Miguel Cabrera, and Chris Davis. According to the Miami Herald, Fernandez’s All-Star appearance landed him with exclusive company.
The Miami Herald article goes on to note that Miami intends to shut down Fernandez around the 150 innings mark. The rookie is currently sitting on 127.2 innings and leads the team in bWAR at 4.0.
Fernandez got to work early on his next Rookie of the Month audition last Friday, fanning 14 batters in 8.0 innings of work against the Cleveland Indian’s 4th ranked offense. His next start is scheduled for Thursday, August 8th against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park. First pitch for that game is scheduled for 12:35 p.m. ET.