Miami Marlins phenom is all smiles after being named to the National League All-Star team Saturday. Will any of the Marlins prospects follow in his footsteps?
But who knew Fernandez was suppose to be this good this fast?
The 20-year-old rookie phenom was selected to represent the Marlins at the 2013 All-Star Game at Citi Field on July 16. Before the season began, many assumed Fernandez would start the season in the minors. Even Fernandez told MLB.com:
Everybody knows I was not supposed to start with the team this year. Things happened, and I got a chance to pitch. Now, I have a chance to be on the All-Star team, it's just something that for sure I wanted to do in my career, to be there with those guys. Those are the best players in the world. I've got a chance now to do it at 20. Just to think about it is something I will remember for the rest of my life.
Well, that reign was short-lived.
However, what Fernandez has accomplished—and he did earn it, as he owns a 5-5 record and a 2.83 ERA with 99 strikeouts in 98.2 innings—is nearly unprecedented, as there aren't many players who are selected to the All-Star team before the legal drinking age.
In fact, Fernandez became the youngest Marlin to be named to the All-Star Game—as Miguel Cabrera was 21 years and three months old when he was picked in 2004, and Dontrelle Willis was also 21 when he earned his first All-Star nod in 2003.
Fernandez's success triggers the following question: With a good, young farm system, which Marlins prospects will be future All-Stars one day?
Will it be someone flying under the radar such as infielder Avery Romero? Or maybe it's the team's top two pitching prospects, Andrew Heaney and Justin Nicolino? Perhaps it's Jake Marisnick and Christian Yelich, the organization's top two prospects?
Of course, the only way to get a read on their future stardom is to track how they currently fare in the minors. So without further ado, in ascending order, here's the latest stock report for the Marlins' top 10 prospects.
Last week's stats: 0-0, 9.00 ERA, 5 ER, 11 H, 0 BB, 4 SO, 5 IP in 1 start
2013 stats: 4-6, 6.06 ERA, 55 BB, 60 SO, 65.1 IP in 16 games (13 starts)
It's been a struggle for Austin Brice this season, and his latest performance was no exception.
Against the Lakewood BlueClaws, Brice yielded five runs on 11 hits in five innings of work. Luckily for Brice, he received a no-decision as the Grasshoppers rallied from the 5-2 hole Brice helped put them in to win 7-6 Friday.
Since June 10, Brice is 1-0 with a 5.82 ERA in four games pitched.
It hasn't been a banner year for Marlins catching prospect J.T. Realmuto.
Last week's stats: 1-for-13
2013 stats: .227/.297/.324, 2 HR, 17 RBI, 25 R, 14 2B
It was a rough week for J.T. Realmuto.
Not only did Realmuto struggle offensively last week, his most notable play might be when he was called for catcher's interference, which allowed the Pensacola Blue Wahoos to score a run Monday in Jacksonville's one-run loss.
Last week's stats: 10-for-23, 3 R, 4 2B, 5 RBI
2013 stats: .394/.444/.530, 1 HR, 9 RBI, 10 R
Avery Romero just can't be stopped.
Since Romero's season began with the Muckdogs on June 17, he's reached base safely in 16 of his 19 games and has collected a multi-hit game in 11 of the outings. In fact, Romero was all or nothing last week as he collected two hits in five of the six games, while in the other contest, he was held hitless.
Romero has been excellent to the point where he has vaulted into the club's top 10 prospects on the organization's website, which is well-deserved.
Last week's stats: 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 0 ER, 5 H, 1 BB, 5 SO, 7 IP in 1 start
2013 stats: 8-3, 3.14 ERA, 17 BB, 67 SO, 91.2 IP in 17 games (16 starts)
Jose Urena was fantastic in his last start as he tossed seven scoreless innings, threw 62 of his 82 pitches for strikes and topped out at 95 mph on the stadium radar gun Wednesday.
Oh, but only if the offense helped him out. The Hammerheads mustered just two hits—one of which came from the Marlins' top prospect Christian Yelich—as Urena received a no-decision in a 1-0 loss to the St. Lucie Mets.
In his last five starts, Urena is 2-1 with a miniscule 0.84 ERA.
Third baseman Zack Cox received a promotion to Triple-A last week.
Last week's stats: 2-for-13, 1 HR, 2 RBI
2013 stats: .273/.374/.360, 1 HR, 17 RBI, 16 R
Yes, you read that right. Cox's stock went up despite a sub-par week.
In Wednesday's 5-3 loss, Cox's error extended the inning and allowed the Pensacola Blue Wahoos to score two runs. Later, Cox struck out swinging with the bases loaded to strand the tying and go-ahead runs.
But the reason Cox's stock improved is because he was promoted from Double-A Jacksonville on Thursday, according to the Northwest Arkansas Times. It also helped that Cox hit his first home run of the season in the aforementioned defeat.
Of the Marlins top pitching prospects, only Adam Conley is above Double-A.
Last week's stats: 0-2, 3.86 ERA, 4 ER, 6 H, 4 BB, 7 SO, 9.1 IP in 2 games (1 start)
2013 stats: 7-4, 3.96 ERA, 25 BB, 83 SO, 86.1 IP in 17 games (16 starts)
Let's get the good news out of the way, which is Adam Conley was one of five Suns players selected to play in the Southern League All-Star Game on July 17, according to the Florida Times-Union.
As for the rest of the week, it wasn't anything to celebrate about.
On Monday, Conley had one bad inning, and it gave him his first loss since May 27 in a 4-3 defeat. On Sunday, Conley began a suspended game and yielded one run in four innings, but that was enough for him to lose his second-consecutive outing.
Now, please understand Conley wasn't horrible last week. It just so happened he was on the mound when his team lost. Moreover, his performance was about average.
That said, Conley has had a solid season, and after the Marlins traded Ricky Nolasco on Saturday, he has become a possibility to be called up at some point after the All-Star break, according to MLB.com.
Last week's stats: 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 0 ER, 5 H, 0 BB, 7 SO, 6 IP in 1 start
2013 stats: 2-2, 1.33 ERA, 11 BB, 51 SO, 40.2 IP in 9 games (8 starts)
Jupiter might have three of the best starting pitchers in the Florida State League, and Andrew Heaney might be the best of them all.
Heaney picked up the win Friday as he threw six scoreless innings against the St. Lucie Mets in a 4-1 win. Since June 10, Heaney is 2-2 with a tiny 1.16 ERA in five games pitched.
I'd love to stay healthy, first off, and reach my innings limit, which I know I'm way behind on. Moving up would be a goal, obviously, too. I feel like that's a little out of my control. I got a late start, so I don't know how that'll be affected. I don't set numbers goals. Numbers can lie sometimes. I just want to go out there and pitch well and try to make up for these two months I missed."
Justin Nicolino throws a pitch during Spring Training. Nicolino is probably the Marlins best pitching prospect currently.
Last week's stats: 1-0, 0.79 ERA, 1 ER, 12 H, 2 BB, 11 SO, 11.1 IP in 2 starts
2013 stats: 5-1, 2.18 ERA, 17 BB, 60 SO, 90.2 IP in 17 starts
As the season has progressed, Justin Nicolino has gotten stronger.
On Monday, Nicolino scattered three hits and struck out a season-high seven batters in 5.1 scoreless innings to pick up the 5-0 win against the Charlotte Stone Crabs. Nicolino threw 55 of 82 pitches for strikes.
Then on Sunday, Nicolino struggled as he yielded nine hits in six innings of work, but he allowed just one earned run to receive a no-decision in Jupiter's 3-1 loss. Nicolino tossed a season-high 101 pitches, but his ability to get out of trouble helped lowered his ERA to a Florida State League-leading 2.18.
“Nicolino may be…a better major-league pitcher than a guy who is ranked on prospect lists,” BaseballProspectus.com's Zach Mortimer said.
Last week's stats: 7-for-17, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R
2013 stats: .289/.359/.500, 10 HR, 39 RBI, 33 R, 10 2B, 11 SB
One could make a case that Jake Marisnick is the Marlins' best prospect right now.
Marisnick continued to scorch the cover off the baseball as he hit his first career walk-off home run, a two-run shot, in Tuesday's 6-5 victory against the Pensacola Blue Wahoos.
"Jake can hit one out of the ballpark at any time," Suns manager Andy Barkett told the team's website following the walk-off win. "I was hoping [someone] could get on base…so we'd have a chance to at least tie the game."
More good news followed the next day as Marisnick will join Conley and three others to play in the Southern League All-Star Game on July 17, according to the Florida Times-Union.
Regarded as the organization's top defensive outfielder, Marisnick will give the Marlins no choice but to promote him to the big leagues if he continues to smash the baseball effectively on a consistent basis.
Christian Yelich returned to active duty this week after he spent a month on the DL with an abdominal strain.
Last week's stats: 5-for-24, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 3 R
2013 stats: .260/.338/.505, 8 HR, 31 RBI, 30 R, 12 2B, 7 3B
As well as Marisnick is playing, Christian Yelich is still the team's top prospect.
Yelich returned from the disabled list June 26 after three weeks with an abdominal injury, and he's had mixed results. Yelich has hit for power with a pair of home runs, but not for the kind of average for someone who is regarded as one of the top hitting prospects in baseball.
In 10 games since coming off the DL, Yelich is hitting .250. That said, earlier this season, Yelich had a slow start when he came off the DL with a bruised right heel. In his first nine games, Yelich hit .220. But in the following 15 games, Yelich caught fire as he hit .414 with six home runs and 17 RBI.
On the bright side, Yelich will be in the 15th annual Sirius XM All-Star Futures Game at 2 p.m. Sunday at Citi Field in New York. Last season, Yelich went 1-for-2 with a walk at the Futures Game in Kansas City.
"I'm looking to enjoy the Futures Game and seeing where we go from there," Yelich told MLB.com. "We've got a couple of months left in the Minor League season. Whatever happens with that and at the big league level, we'll see where it takes us."