Miami Marlins starter Jose Fernandez is the reigning National League Rookie of The Year. He is 4-2 with a 2.44 earned run average and has emerged as one of baseball's prominent young starting pitchers. After being placed on the disabled list on Monday, Fernandez may require season-ending surgery. But regardless, the Marlins should be able to continue to win without Fernandez.
Sports at times can have a great sense of humor. Good may not come immediately, but maybe the injury to Fernandez could be good for the Marlins. Maybe it means that Andrew Heaney or Justin Nicolino or one of the Marlins' other pitching prospects gets an opportunity. And while still in rebuilding mode, that is what the Marlins of today are about: opportunity.
While when Fernandez takes the mound every fifth day the Marlins feel confident in their chances of getting a win, Miami has one of baseball's best and young starting rotations. Nathan Eovaldi, Henderson Alvarez, Jacob Turner, and Tom Koehler have all, despite a few poor outings, been efficient to begin the year for the Marlins.
Miami has so much pitching depth, which they didn't want to trade away for offense during the offseason, that should Fernandez's right elbow injury require season-ending Tommy John surgery, his absence shouldn't be felt every time his spot in the rotation comes around.
After putting him on a strict innings limit in 2013, the Marlins' front office handled the situation well. They recognized that Fernandez is a rare talent, and after learning of his injury, even if it indeed turns out to not be serious, did the right thing by immediately placing him on the disabled list.
Fernandez's high school pitching coach was a former Japanese athlete, which makes Fernandez's injury notable. Japanese pitchers are known for their durability and consistent deliveries, limiting their vulnerability when it comes to injuries.
If Fernandez does need Tommy John surgery, he may not be able to pitch again until June of 2015, leaving a clear hole in the Marlins' starting rotation. There is no reason to jump to conclusions though, and while several signs point to season-ending surgery being necessary, a less severe injury could be possible, too.
Heading into Thursday night's contest against the Dodgers, the Marlins are two games above five hundred. The offense is much improved, and the pitching has been solid. Jose Fernandez has been dominant at times, but has struggled too. The Miami Marlins have proven they could win when Fernandez isn't on the mound, so while the long term effects are troublesome, the Marlins should be able to keep winning games.