Miami Marlins Season Review: Jose Fernandez
By Mark Laming
It’s a holiday for Miami Marlins fans, Jose Day. Every fifth day the Marlins season felt like it was going somewhere, and all was right with the world.
Jose Fernandez, the Marlins’ 23 year-old former NL Rookie of the Year ace, returned from Tommy John surgery for the 2015 season. Jose Days resumed and the Marlins ace had made his triumphant return to the mound, pitching 64 2/3 innings over 11 starts.
Nearly 14 months before Jose’s golden return, he underwent Tommy John Surgery. Tommy John has run rampant through the Major Leagues, a procedure many young pitchers undergo at the beginning of their careers. Jose was 22 years old when he underwent Tommy John.
Concerns abound even after the evolution of Tommy John Surgery that young pitchers will lose velocity. Jose’s velocity showed up in a big way during his minor league starts, and appeared during his eleven starts. Fernandez was able to make a full recovery from Tommy John, and returned to his old form immediately.
July 2nd Jose Fernandez took the final step in his recovery, stepping back onto the mound for the Miami Marlins. His debut, dynamic.
Fernandez dominated the day on both sides, serving a 398 foot monster home run off of Giants pitcher Matt Cain. Jose showed no regression from the surgery, firing fastballs in the high 90s, three times hitting 98 MPH.
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In his extremely limited appearances in 2015, Fernandez was impressive. He was a two win player, posting a 2.1 WAR through his eleven starts. This number is particularly impressive given Fernandez’s limited opportunists to pitch coming back in the beginning of July.
Fernandez continued to have an incredible win-loss record, going 6-1 on the season. Jose continued his impressive streak of not losing a home game.
In 64 2/3 innings, Fernandez posted a 2.92 ERA.
During his 2013 season, Jose’s ERA was 2.19. This stat shows that there has been very little regression even through the rigorous Tommy John recovery process.
One stat however, did regress from the 2013 season.
In 2013, opponents average was .188, in 2015 opponents hit .245 off Fernandez. While this is a stat you can live with, he has lost a step from where he was at. Another thing a lot of people noticed in 2015 was Jose gave up a slightly larger number of hard hit balls than he used to. Players did a better job getting balls in the air off of Fernandez in 2015.
Jose continued to live up to his billing as “Kid K”, striking out 29.8% of players who stepped into the box against him. His K-BB% is a whopping 24.5%, meaning he strikes out 24.5% more batters than he walks. Jose is a dynamic strikeout pitcher, and has always been known as one strikeout pitchers in the league.
So what should you look for in 2016?
Look for Fernandez to try to make it through an entire season, making many more starts than he did in 2015. You can also count on a sharper Jose in 2015. With a full offseason and spring training to prepare, a luxury he didn’t have during his recovery. These two factors will greatly affect Jose’s 2016 performance.
Jose’s return was the marquee moment for the Marlins 2015 season, and he pitched really well given his limited opportunities. Hopefully Jose can continue to be the ace of the Miami Marlins staff and continue to be a productive pitcher in the rotation.
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Next: Season Review: Second Base
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