Jose Fernandez: Marlins Hopeful to have Ace After June 1


Jose Fernandez and his health remain the key for any aspirations that the Miami Marlins have for a post-season run in 2015. Not only is he their best starting pitcher, he is their second best player and without him, the Marlins have a gaping hole in the rotation.

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Luckily for the team, the prognosis for Fernandez looks good right now. According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, the Marlins expect Jose Fernandez to be able to return to the mound for the big league squad sometime after June 1st.

"Fernandez, coming off Tommy John surgery last May, will throw off a mound in spring training, and owner Jeffrey Loria expects him to return sometime after June 1.“We’re still thinking June, July area” for his return to the majors, Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill said Monday from Jeff Conine’s annual charity golf tournament.“Once we get him on the mound, we’ll get a little more clarity. When you’re dealing with those injuries, you’re always cautiously optimistic.“He’s worked extremely hard. He’s done a tremendous job doing everything he needs to do to get himself back. We won’t put a timetable on it. We don’t want him to feel any pressure.”"

Jose Fernandez seems to be an important enough part of the team that the Marlins have identified him as a potential player they need to lock up long-term, but with Scott Boras as his client, a deal is highly unlikely.

Fernandez burst on to the scene for the Marlins in 2013, latching on with the roster as a last minute addition when Henderson Alvarez and Nathan Eovaldi went down with shoulder injuries. Despite never pitching above High-A, Fernandez held his own in the majors and became more dominant as the season wore on, winning the NL Rookie of the Year Award over fellow Cuban rookie Yasiel Puig.

In 2013, Fernandez posted a ERA and a 2.73 FIP in 172 2/3 innings of work. As a rookie, he impressively struck out almost 9 hitter per nine innings, with that number sitting at over 11 per nine in the second half.

Jose Fernandez was poised to follow his breakout 2013 campaign with an even better 2014 season, as he posted a 2.44 ERA and a 2.18 FIP in his 8 starts and 51 2/3 innings.

His numbers would have looked even better if he hadn’t labored through his last start, the one in which he lost velocity on his pitches in. In his final start on May 9th, Fernandez allowed 5 runs on 6 hits, including two home runs, while striking out 5 and walking 1 in 5 innings of work.

If Jose can return to ace form right away (I wouldn’t count on it), the Marlins will be in excellent position to make a run at the wild card in 2015. If not, the team will need a lot of things to bounce their way, which is why we advocate the team signing James Shields, as he’d help take some pressure of Jose Fernandez as he returns to the mound for the first time in over a year.

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