Marlins Country

Jose Fernandez Provides a Reason to Watch a Losing Team

Photo courtesy of Joe Capozzi

Flame throwing right-hander Jose Fernandez very well may be the lone bright spot on an otherwise abysmal 2013 Miami Marlins roster.

No, not even Giancarlo Stanton has done much to render this squad watchable this far into the season. Stanton suffered through his annual lackluster April and managed to swat three home runs before landing on the disabled list at the end of April. And he probably won’t be back healthy until at least June.

At this juncture, more than six weeks deep into the 2013 MLB season, the Marlins rank dead last in baseball in the following categories: runs scored, home runs, runs batted in, batting average, on-base percentage (tied with the White Sox for 30th), slugging and OPS.

Yikes.

While the team clearly can’t score runs and therefore are amidst a vigorous battle with the Houston Astros for next year’s number one draft pick, Fernandez has been every bit as good as advertised since his abrupt and questionable call up to the Marlins on the eve of Opening Day.

At just 20 years young, the team’s future ace has grown up quickly. His 3.65 ERA in seven starts might not appear to be anything to write home about, but he has been borderline dominant in multiple outings. And having never pitched above Class-A ball until being thrown to the proverbial big league wolves, that is nothing short of incredible.

And the strikeouts. Oh, the strikeouts…

It’s understandable that the front office wants to keep their crown jewel on an innings limit, but at some point I say let the kid go out there and finish a game if he is in position to. In three of those starts Fernandez allowed one or zero runs and made opposing batters (in two of these cases, the Phillies) look plain silly to the tune of a combined six hits, only to be pulled and give way to the bullpen.

At 11-29 this team has not been fun to watch, but what people need to realize is that they have something special in Jose Fernandez. If anything even the most jaded of Marlins fans should consider tuning in every fifth day to watch this special young fellow pitch for five or six innings while he is still a Marlin. As much as it pains me to say, obviously no player is immune to the trade market. And it would truly be a shame to miss one of the true up-and-coming pitching phenoms due to protesting the the absurd ways in which the ownership has handled the rest of the organization.