Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
The Miami Marlins sent top prospect Jose Fernandez to minor league camp despite a decent performance in spring training. When should he debut in Marlins colors?
As noted in today's Fish Bites, the Miami Marlins have reassigned Jose Fernandez to minor league camp. This was not a completely unforeseeable move, as very few actually expected Jose Fernandez to stick with the big league club. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing one of the top pitching prospects in all of baseball donning the Miami Marlins uniform this spring, but I do not think we will be seeing him with the tri-color "Miami" written across his chest any time soon. At least not soon enough.
Everything about Jose Fernandez that I have either seen or heard has been positive. Scouts seem to love him. Baseball America considers both his fastball and curveball to be the best in the Marlins' entire farm system. The general consensus seems to be that both pitches are plus (or plus-plus) pitches that are complemented with an about average change-up. Fernandez has three plus pitches, including an elite, plus-plus fastball. That is the makings of one good pitcher
Jose Fernandez's superb talent was reflected in his season statistics. Fernandez's absurd line at Single-A Greensboro included a sub-2.00 ERA and 11.3 strikeouts per nine innings, and his success continued when he was promoted to High-A Jupiter. Not only do scouts like what they see, but Fernandez 's minor league statistical performance clearly shows his value.
Jose Fernandez has all the makings of a premier player. When people watch him, they like him. When he plays in games, he plays well. He is doing everything perfectly, and that is one easy way to get noticed and move to the next level. Jose Fernandez is very much deserving of moving on to the next level, but the majors is not the next level for him, Double-A is.
Jose Fernandez has done everything right thus far. Hopefully this means he will keep doing everything right, But there is no reason for him to be playing for the Miami Marlins in 2013. He should continue to progress in the minors and refine his abilities, making him a better player when he makes his debut. If the Marlins wait to call him up and delay the start of his club control years, then he should both be a better and cheaper player and, most importantly, the Marlins should be more competitive in the future. Fernandez's value would be better served on as good of a team as can be built around him. A 2014 major league debut for Fernandez sounds ideal, but my one real request is that the Marlins do not rush him.