About a week ago, Prospects2Pros was ready to write an inflammatory post regarding Miami’s decision to promote top pitching prospect Jose Fernandez to the majors, but after an impressive rookie debut in which the 20 year old Braulio Alonso High School alumnus struck out eight batters in a 4-3 loss to the Mets, count this blog as one of the many that is willing to retract any negative sentiment towards Fernandez’s accelerated debut.
Fernandez may have only thrown five innings, but in those five innings, he broke the franchise record for strikeouts in a major league debut, and retired 10 straight batters to start his career. However, he was unable to get the win, as manager Mike Redmond opted to preserve his young future ace’s arm.
It was a tough decision, and a decision that ultimately soured, as Marlins closer Steve Cishek imploded, hitting Ruben Tejada, then allowing a hit to Kirk Nieuwenhuis, and finally, allowing hte go-ahead hit to Marlon Byrd that won the game.
Prior to Fernandez’s surprise call-up, he made waves when he admitted that he did not know who his manager was, and followed that up with knocking star hitter Giancarlo Stanton’s helmet clean off with a pitch.
Fernandez joins Dwight Gooden, Jeremy Bonderman, and Rick Porcello as pitchers in the last thirty years who made their major league debut without pitching above Single-A baseball. The fourteenth overall selection of the 2011 MLB draft, Fernandez is armed with an electrifying fastball, a solid curve and changeup, and a remarkable ability to pitch around the strike zone.
Last year, Fernandez was pitching for the Greensboro Grasshoppers and the Jupiter Hammerheads as well as making an appearance in the Futures Game. Given the rate of his development, it might be a possibility that he joins Bryce Harper and Mike Trout as players who play in the futures and All-Star Games in consecutive years. Until then, we will have to wait and see how he develops throughout the season.