Jose Fernandez: Why the Marlins Need to Shut Him Down and Why He is the Leading Candidate for NL Rookie of the Year

Jose Fernandez has impressed many since his shocking call-up from the beginning of the season. If it weren’t for injuries to the rotation to begin the season, we probably would not have been able to experience the exciting show he has put on all season, including a back-to-back 13+ strikeout performance, being the first to do it since Randy Johnson in 2004, and first rookie since Kerry Wood made such a feat in 1998. Since his call-up, he has received many honors, including being named an All-Star, winning Player of the Week once, and Rookie of the Month once. And he is very deserving another few, including NL Rookie of the Year honors, and possibly even the NL Cy Young Award for most outstanding pitcher in the National League. But a much needed shut down for the season might hinder his chances at such coveted awards.

Do the Miami Marlins Really Need to Shut Fernandez Down?

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Absolutely. Fernandez just seems to get better and better as the season progresses and was ahead of the learning curve to begin with. Fact is the Marlins really don’t need him for the rest of the season. They have less than a one percent shot at the playoffs, and would need to win literally every game for the rest of the season, with a tremendous amount of help. Fernandez and  Giancarlo Stanton are the bright spots of this young Marlins team. The team as a whole is much better than their record now, but the Marlins needs to preserve their ace for next season, when I personally believe they have a legitimate shot at being a playoff team. Fernandez has nothing to prove, he has shown that he is beyond Major League ready, and has become an All-Star. He entered the season as a 20 year old, and has a long career ahead of him. It would be a shame if such talent went to waste because of an overused and blown arm. The Marlins plan to shut him down at 170 innings of work. He is about 30 innings away, which puts him at about 4 starts from being done for the season, with one being tomorrow against the red hot Dodgers. If I were an associate for the team, I would advise them to shut him down after this start because as I’ve said he has nothing to prove and needs to be preserved. It would great way to go out as well, as the game features two of the most promising stars in baseball in Fernandez and Yasiel Puig, who are also both native Cubans.

Will Jose Fernandez Win NL Rookie of the Year?

Unfortunately, I do not believe this is the case. With all of the hype surrounding Yasiel Puig, plus another strong performing rookie pitcher in Shelby Miller, Fernandez has some very stiff competition. Is he deserving of it though? Without a doubt. If Fernandez was playing for a notable, or playoff-contending team, he would receiving nearly as much hype as Puig. It is because he is on team with a poor record that he isn’t a notable player. Even when he had a chance to be in the spotlight in the 2013 All-Star Game, he wasn’t given any attention to because of Fox’s interview with Jason Grilli. In is one inning of work, he was perfect. He struck out a former MVP in Dustin Pedroia, got the reigning MVP, Triple Crown winner, and once again contender for the Triple Crown, Miguel Cabrera, to fly out, then struck out baseball’s leader in homers, Chris Davis, to strike out on a nasty slider. If that doesn’t deserve any attention, I don’t know what does. It was not until he had his back to back 13+ K performances where he finally got some of the attention he deserved. Fernandez has one of the best opposing batting averages in the Majors, with an impressive .190. And that’s Majors, not amongst rookies, or the National League, but all of baseball. He also owns the 3rd best ERA in the National League, only behind Cy Young hopefuls Clayton Kershaw and Matt Harvey.  These numbers are very impressive, and deserving of the NL ROY award, but will he get it? We will just have to wait and see.

What about the NL Cy Young Award?

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This may be where he has a legitimate shot. His only true competition are just a couple of regular Joes by the names of Clayton Kershaw and Matt Harvey. I mean they only made the All-Star game this year and are leading different pitching categories. But realistically, Fernandez has a real shot at winning the award because he is in the top five of nearly every pitching category in the National League. And since the All-Star Break, he has has the best ERA in all of baseball. I say that Fernandez will be a lock at a top 5 finish for Cy Young, and has a legitimate shot at a top 3 finish, if not the winner.

-Ricky

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