Miami Marlins: Jose Fernandez Shutdown Scheduled Around September 4th

Aug 19, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Marlins starting pitcher Jose Fernandez (right) greets teammate second baseman Donovan Solano (left) during the fourth inning at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

After his brilliant start against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday night, Jose Fernandez now sits at 145 2/3 innings for the season. The Miami Marlins plan on shutting Jose down for the remainder of the season when he nears the 170 inning threshold.

MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro projects Fernandez to make his final start on September 4th on the road, against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigly Field. That would be if the Marlins management decides to keep him on his current role, pitching every fifth day. Frisaro speculates that if the Marlins decide to give Fernandez a day off at some point, his final start could then be a home game against the Washington Nationals on the 6th.

Fernandez threw 134 innings last season between Low-A and High-A last season. Jose made his final start in Jupiter’s championship clincher over Lakeland.

Throwing 145 2/3 innings so far this season, Fernandez has already exceeded his career high in innings pitched. Being just two years removed from pitching in High School, the Marlins are taking the correct approach with Fernandez, to make sure they are able to preserve his arm for, hopefully, some contending innings down the road.

After last night’s start, Fernandez lowered his season ERA to 1.50 and his FIP to 2.75, racking up 151 strikeouts on the season. All three of those lead all rookie pitchers.

Although Fernandez has made a strong impression in his rookie season, the fact that he will be shutdown in early September could be detrimental to his Rookie of the Year case. Yasiel Puig has been neck-and-neck with Fernandez for the coveted prize for rookies and will play meaningful games in late September.

With the team permitting Fernandez to throw around 170 innings in 2013, he should be on track to throw around 200 innings in 2014, and may not even have an innings cap by the 2015 season.

Brian Flynn and Brad Hand are a couple of options the Marlins could turn to once they decide to shut Fernandez down. Both are currently pitching well in Triple-A for the New Orleans Zephyrs.

Flynn has pitched a total of 149 innings between Double-A and Triple-A in 2013, with a majority of the innings coming in Triple-A. He has struck out 139 hitters on the season and a 2.78 ERA between the two levels.

Hand started the season in AAA, made a brief cameo in the majors, and then missed a chunk of the season due to an injury. In 61 1/3 innings, Hand owns a 3.67 ERA and a 3.98 FIP. He has struck out over 10 hitters per nine innings, but has struggled with command, walking almost 5 per nine innings.

Topics: Brad Hand, Brian Flynn, Jose Fernandez, Miami Marlins

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