Miami Marlins Jose Fernandez: Shutdown At 170 Innings
The Miami Marlins have gone through quite a whirlwind two years. Last season they were picked by many to be world series contenders after adding Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, and Heath Bell to go along with a core led by Giancarlo Stanton
and a healthy staff ace in Josh Johnson. Fast forward an off-season and all the prized free-agent signings are elsewhere and the Marlins have a brand new, young stud of an ace in Jose Fernandez, who recently turned 21. The Marlins are in full rebuild mode keeping very little of the team they expected to compete in 2012. Jose Fernandez has quickly become a shining star and given a ray of light to the Marlins young pitching staff. Fernandez should be and probably will be the Marlins Opening Day starter in 2014 but before next season rolls around, the Marlins plan on shutting down Fernandez at 170 innings. Considering the Marlins will probably not be in contention at the rate they’re going for a few years now, the decision to shutdown Fernandez at 17o innings is an absolutely brilliant move by Marlins management.
Jose Fernandez has been one of the few bright spots during the 2013 Miami Marlins season. He currently sits with an 8-5 record with a 2.45 ERA, 149 strikeouts, a 1.02 WHIP in 139.2 innings pitched. Opponents have managed to just hit .190 off of Fernandez this season and he was the Marlins lone all-star this season. For a team as punchless as the Marlins are, Fernandez has sure stood out, even more so than the face of the franchise, Giancarlo Stanton. Fernandez boasts a powerful 94.7 average MPH fastball which he can pump up to 96-97 when he needs extra velocity and can cut his fastball and throw a two seamer, a filthy slider which looks impossible to hit on most days, a beautiful changeup which is extremely effective as it sits on average, about 10 MPH slower than his fastball, and a curveball. Fernandez also has a smooth, easy, and repeatable delivery which, in part, has allowed for him to be successful this season.
So, with the Marlins well out of contention and much of the future relying on Fernandez, the decision to shut him down once he reaches 170 innings is a smart move by the Marlins. Why?
1. Fernandez has the makings of a dominant ace, who will most certainly be in his fair share of Cy Young races throughout his career assuming he stays healthy. He may even get some votes this season too.
2. Fernandez has never thrown more than 140 innings in a season. His arm is still very fresh and he throws a lot of slider which takes a lot of the arm and elbow. Gradually building Jose up will preserve his arm.
3. The Marlins have quietly built a very promising young core of starter since their firesale. Fernandez will certainly lead the pack next year and will be joined by Henderson Alvarez, Jacob Turner, and Nathan Eovaldi. These four young arms should develop into a good rotation in the near future and the Marlins don’t want to jeopardize the long term future of their ace, Fernandez.
The fact that Jose Fernandez has been absolutely filthy this season should shine some light in an otherwise, horrible season for the Marlins. They are in a massive rebuild and Fernandez has given Marlins fans a reason to look forward a few seasons. Fernandez is still raw and already pitching at a Cy Young candidate. He may even win rookie of the year but will be in tough with the likes of Matt Harvey, Yasiel Puig, and Shelby Miller also in contention. The Miami Marlins future of the pitching staff relies on the young arm of Jose Fernandez and they are making a very smart move by shutting down Fernandez at 17o innings. He is currently sitting at 139.2 innings, so a few more starts and Fernandez will next be on the hill on Opening Day 2014.