I was a big fan of Jose Fernandez after watching his first Major League debut against my favorite team New York Mets on April 8, 2013 live. Watching his first few pitches, which were four-seam fastballs, I thought he was one of the fireballer rookies that would not last long in his first game. However, he threw 8 strikeouts in 5 innings, and Mets were only able to hit 3 and score 1 run from a rookie player. Mets won the game by demolishing Steve Cishek in the 9th inning, but I was shocked by Jose’s performance.
Last Sunday, September 25, the Miami Marlins have announced that Jose Fernandez, 24, was killed in a boat accident. A few days later, the Miami Marlins retired his number on his uniform, 16. This power pitcher was selected twice in the All-Stars, and was expected to become a free agent in 2018. He struck out 589 batters in his 76 games (3rd highest record in MLB). Fernandez was accumulating the best career among all active pitchers.
His overall record is 38-17 with 2.58 ERA in 471 innings with 589 strikeouts and 140 BB. Specially, his strike-out percentage (31.2%) is the highest ratio among players who pitched more than 400 innings, and marking 29-2 with an ERA 1.49 in his 40 games in the Marlins Park was the second best performance of a pitcher in one’s home stadium in the MLB history (the best performance in the MLB history was Sandy Koufax). The advent of this pitching ace was the only pleasure of life for the Marlins fans that were experiencing their team’s dark age.
Fernandez pitched an average speed of 95.2 miles per hour four-seam fastball, which is a 6th fastest speed among players who pitched more than 400 innings in his time, and his fastball touched 101 miles per hour. He also threw a changeup at 85-88 miles per hour and a sinker at 88-94 miles per hour. However, his main pitching arsenal was a curve ball. He had two types of curve ball: a power curve that touched 87 miles per hour that charges towards the batter like a slider and then drops with a thud, and a slurve that had a vertical movement more than a horizontal movement.
The U.S. Coast Guard says there was no sign of drugs or alcohol in the boat when they found Jose’s corpse. Why he was riding a boat at dawn and how did the accident occurr? Nobody knows. But we know one thing for sure. We will not be able to watch Fernandez’s fantastic pitch ever again. I pay my warmest tribute to the memory of the deceased. Rest In Peace, Jose.