If you were taking a wait-and-see approach with 20-year-old Marlins rookie Jose Fernandez ... well, you can't wait much longer. Most of us have seen enough.
Fernandez was terrific in his major league debut on Sunday, tossing five strong innings against the Mets. He allowed just three hits, one walk and one run, striking out eight. The kid threw 80 pitches, 53 of them strikes. He reached 97 mph on the radar gun and embarrassed hitters with a ridiculous slurve. (The pitch is so great it has a nickname: "The Defector.") When Fernandez checked out of Sunday's game, his team led 3-1.
All things considered, it was a tremendous outing for the rook. Miami couldn't have asked for more.
It's fair to question whether the Marlins should have started Fernandez's service-time clock so early, but you can't really question the quality of Jose's stuff. It's of the highest quality.
Fernandez was almost un-hittable at Single-A last season, going 14-1 with a 1.75 ERA at two minor league stops, striking out 158 hitters in 134.0 innings. He entered 2013 near the top of everyone's prospect rankings, though few expected to see him earn a spot in Miami's April rotation. But spring injuries to Henderson Alvarez and Nathan Eovaldi cleared a path, and Fernandez was absolutely dominating low-level hitters. In his final three Double-A spring training appearances, he racked up 19 Ks over 12.0 scoreless innings, allowing just three hits.
I won't say that every aspect of Sunday's start was smooth — Fernandez encountered trouble from the stretch, plus he shook off his catcher all afternoon. Still, he's clearly talented enough assist fantasy owners, despite his age (and his expected run support issues). He remains available in 70 percent of Yahoo! leagues, which is kinda crazy. Let's bump that number up in advance of his next start. Assuming he remains healthy, we're looking at 150-165 innings this season with solid ratios (think mid-3s ERA) and an excellent K-rate.
My recommendation: Get a few Fernandez shares in your fantasy portfolio. I'm speaking as your broker here. Do it. I'm even willing to reduce my commission for this pick-up.
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