Throughout the 2016-17 offseason, Fish Stripes will be going back over the Top 100 Marlins of all time, from their inception as the Florida Marlins in 1993 through today's incarnation as the Miami Marlins. I used the WAR metric to order all potential members of the list. Today's Marlin, Alexander Fernandez, earned a mark of 8.4 while with the team.
Fernandez was a 6’2”, 200 lb. right-handed pitcher from Miami Beach, Florida. Born on August 13th, 1969, he was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in the first round of the 1988 MLB amateur draft with the 24th overall selection, but didn’t sign. He was again drafted two years later, by the Chicago White Sox with the fourth overall selection. He earned the third highest career WAR from that class, behind future Hall of Famer Chipper Jones and fellow right-hander Mike Mussina.
Fernandez played seven seasons with the White Sox, making his debut with the major league parent club in 1990. He started 197 games and appeared twice in relief, earning a 79-63 record, a 3.78 ERA, a 4.03 FIP, a 1.286 WHIP, annd 951 strikeouts in 1346.1 innings. Two days after filing for free agency in 1996, the Marlins signed him for five years and $35 million.
In 1997, Fernandez ranked fifth in the NL in wins, going 17-12 with a 3.59 ERA, a 3.92 FIP, a 1.187 WHIP, and an NL seventh 183 whiffs in an NL 10th 220.2 innings. He ranked second on most of Miami’s basic pitching metrics, and would have ranked first if not for a startling propensity to give up the long ball (25 allowed over the season, 12 more than Al Leiter, who was second).
Fernandez didn’t take long to start paying dividends for the Marlins. In his second start on April 10th, he struck out eight Cubs and allowed only one single while walking zero batters in a 1-0 shutout victory over Chicago. On May 16th, he allowed one run on five hits and struck out eight in as many innings as the Marlins defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates, 3-1. On June 8th, he whiffed 10 in seven innings, allowing one run on five hits in a 9-1 victory over the Colorado Rockies.
On June 20th, Fernandez allowed one run on three hits, striking out seven and earning his second complete game of the season. He earned his third on August 19th, striking out seven and giving up one run on four hits in an 8-1 victory against the Cubs. On August 30th, he allowed three hits and struck out seven in eight innings to defeat the Toronto Blue Jays, 4-1.
In the postseason, as Florida charged to their first World Series victory, Fernandez defeated the San Francisco Giants in his NLDS start. He gave up two runs on seven hits over seven innings and earned the victory in the final game of the Marlins three-game sweep. Part way into the NLCS against the Atlanta Braves, Fernandez completely tore his right rotator cuff, and ended up missing the rest of the playoffs. He also missed the entire 1998 season.
Fernandez returned to action for the Marlins in 1999, going 7-8 over 24 starts, with a 3.38 ERA, a 3.72 FIP, and a 1.248 WHIP, striking out 91 over 141.0 innings. On May 18th, he struck out five batters over seven innings, allowing two hits in a scoreless performance in an eventual 4-1 loss to the Cubs. On July 6th, he gave up two runs on three hits with five K’s over eight innings, defeating the Braves, 5-2. 11 days later, he had nine strikeouts in seven innings, giving up one run on five hits in a 6-1 loss to the Blue Jays. He earned his only complete game of the year on August 6th, allowing one run on three hits and striking out two in a 9-1 win against the Rockies.
In 2000, Fernandez posted a 4-4 record over his final eight major league starts, with a 4.13 ERA, a 4.76 FIP, a 1.433 WHIP, and 27 K’s over 52.1 innings. On May 18th, he went on the DL with a sore rotator cuff, and never made it back to professional baseball. He officially retired from baseball on September 26th, 2001, and is involved in local politics and radio.
You’ve probably already voted by now, but if you haven’t, help us order the Marlins’ top 20. We ranked 100 through 21 by accumulated Wins Above Replacement (WAR) for each player while with the Marlins, but now we’ve decided to get you involved. Vote up if you think a player is too low, or vote down if you think he is too high. Tomorrow’s going to be the last chance to vote, so tell your friends!