With pitchers and catchers set to report to spring training in 10 days, today we get started with our season preview of our pitching staff. Who better to kick off this preview than the reigning National League Rookie of the Year Jose Fernandez? It is difficult to write something about Fernandez that hasn’t already been written in the last 12 months, but that is not going to stop me from trying.
He made the Marlins out of spring training, largely due to injuries, but to say that he seized the opportunity would be an understatement. Fernandez ran away with the ROY award and finished in the top 3 of the Cy Young award as well. Keep in mind that he is only 20-years-old. Needless to say, Marlins fans should be very excited about this kid.
One of the best aspects of Fernandez is the joy in which he plays baseball. He is out there having fun. That attitude is contagious, and I believe it is a big part of a team achieving success. If that is how Fernandez is going to play as a traditionally “timid” rookie, I can’t wait to see what he has in store for us in 2014.
Jose put forth numbers last year that are mind-boggling for someone his age. A 2.19 ERA and WHIP below 1 were just some of the stats that Fernandez accumulated. He was a well-deserving all-star selection and is likely to make an appearance again soon.
Even with how good Jose was last year, I want to caution Marlins fans to expect some regression. Fernandez had one of the best rookie seasons in the modern era. He may be one of the best ever to play and he might be able to continue to duplicate those numbers that he had last year, but more likely, he is really, really good and his numbers will dip some from last year. That doesn’t mean that he is letting us down. He will still be an ace. He will still be one of the best pitchers in the league, just maybe not quite as good as one season of numbers suggest.
Now that I have pumped the breaks a little, it is time to plain rip them off. No one truly knows just how good this kid can be. Miami has had some great pitchers over the years, from Kevin Brown, Dontrelle Willis, to Josh Beckett, but Fernandez is likely the most talented. If he can continue to progress, the sky is truly the limit for him. I, for one, can’t wait to see what Fernandez has in store for us this year.