2013 Marlin Maniac #1 Prospect: SP, Jose Fernandez


I don’t think this should be a surprise to anyone, but the top prospect for Marlin Maniac’s top 20 prospect list is Jose Fernandez. The Miami Marlins made a shocking baseball decision today to put Jose on the Marlins Opening Day roster, at the age of 20, even though he has never played a game above Single-A.

Ironically, I planned on doing this post yesterday, but I got busy and did not have a chance to post this. The news about the promotion about Fernandez perfectly coincided with the timing of this post.

Before we dig into Jose Fernandez and his prospect profile, here is a quick look back at the top 20 list so far:

Feb 22, 2013; Jupiter, FL, USA; Miami Marlins player Jose Fernandez (78) poses for a picture during photo day at Roger Dean Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

1. Jose Fernandez

Drafted: 2011 1st round pick

Birthdate: 7/31/1992 (20) Height: 6’3″ Weight: 215 lbs.

Jose Fernandez has had the most interesting path to the majors of all the Marlins prospects. Jose Fernandez was once arrested and thrown in jail for attempting to flee Cuba with his mother. After a few failed attempts, Jose finally made it to America and the Marlins are sure glad. He is universally seen as a can’t miss, top 10 prospect in baseball.

The Marlins took Fernandez with the 14th overall pick in the 2011 amateur draft. Fernandez was seen as one of the more advanced high school arms in the draft and has already proven that with his quick promotion to the major leagues. 

Fernandez has an impressive repertoire of pitches. He has an above average fastball, which can reach 98 miles per hour. Fernandez also features two very good breaking pitches, in his curveball and slider. Both pitches project to be above-average.

Fernandez’s final pitch is his changeup, which is still a work in progress, but is currently major league average pitch. With his large frame and impressive arsenal of pitches, Fernandez should be a nightmare for opposing hitters to face if he can maintain his control.

Fernandez started the season in Low-A ball Greensboro, where he was almost unhittable. In his 79 innings with Greensboro, Fernandez struck out 99 hitters while walking just 18. He posted a 1.59 ERA and a impressive 1.78 FIP. He only allowed 51 hits in his 79 innings. This dominance of Low-A earned Jose a promotion to High-A ball later in the season.

When he got to High-A Jupiter, Fernandez continued to dominate hitters. Fernandez struck out 59 hitters in his 55 innings of work. He only walked 17 hitters, leading to an impressive 1.96 ERA and a 2.15 FIP. Once again, Fernandez showed the Miami Marlins and the baseball world that he is an elite level prospect.

Overall in 2012, Fernandez struck out 158 batters with just 35 walks in 134 combined innings. The Marlins have not had a pitching prospect as promising as Jose since Josh Beckett. Becket had an impressive run with the Marlins, including the 2003 World Series. The Marlins can only hope that Fernandez can repeat that success and stick with the Marlins longterm.

This is what prospect guru John Sickels had to say about Fernandez:

"1) Jose Fernandez, RHP, Grade A: Borderline A-. Seems like a conclusive case to me. First class stuff, good command for a young power pitcher, strong sabermetric factors, outstanding performance in A-ball at age 19/20. He’s better than expected and he was expected to be pretty damn good to begin with."

Jose Fernandez will start the season in the majors, as I stated in the beginning. The Marlins expect Fernandez to stick in the majors and he will be limited to around 150-175 innings this season.

With shoulder injuries to Nathan Eovladi and Henderson Alvarez, the Marlins decided Jose Fernandez was their best option to fill in. There is little doubt that Fernandez will be able to hold his own in the major leagues, but the problem for many is that Fernandez’s service clock will get started unnecessarily. With Scott Boras as his agent, the Marlins are going to face a tough battle to keep Jose in Marlins orange as he hits arbitration.