Welcome back to the Post Up! Since we originally created this site, we have been exclusively looking at basketball. However, that is going to change right now. The fact of the matter is that basketball is coming to an end, and therefore there are not many stories to write about. Therefore, we shall move on to look at a season that has just got underway about a month ago, that’s right baseball. So let’s not wait any longer and dive into our first baseball article!
The Build Up:
If you do not watch baseball because it is boring, slow, too long, etc. then I get that. Baseball is a tough sport to watch, much like soccer, because people today love and want the high-speed action happening immediately. However, there are players that can turn anyone into an instant lover for that sport. For soccer, look at Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi. If you have never watched soccer before, I am almost positive in saying that you have heard of at least one of these two players. They are both amazing in their own right and make the game not only look easy, but entertaining. Baseball has the same type of players as well. As of recent, players like Mike Trout, Bryce Harper and Miguel Cabrera have made the game fun to watch with how they play the game.
However, what is interesting about all these players, either soccer or baseball, is that they are offensive. It is because of their exciting offensive tools that we look to them and are drawn in by what they are doing. It is extremely, and I mean extremely rare for the average fan or a non-fan to go crazy over someone like a pitcher, catcher, goalie or defense-men. However, for baseball fans that have been paying close attention the past year or so, they all know what I am going to say and that is that one of those rare occurrences has happened.
The Rising Star:
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you José Fernández. This young man, and I mean young, is a 21-year-old defector from Cuba. Fernández came over from Cuba in 2005 and then in 2011 was drafted by the Miami Marlins. Last year in Spring Training he won a job in the starting rotation, and everything after that was history. He went on to start 28 games last year and have a record of 12-7, pretty impressive for a guy on a team that went 62-100. He also finished the year with a 2.19 ERA, 0.979 WHIP, and 187 Strikeouts. For those who do not understand the exact meaning of those numbers, those are down right amazing, and even more impressive considering that he was a rookie. He went on to win the NL Rookie of the Year and the ceiling looks to be nonexistent for this kid. He is an absolute joy to watch, and I encourage anyone and everyone who has the chance to watch this guy pitch, should do so without hesitation. He is so unbelievably special and he is going to be a big reason why baseball will see an increase in viewership over the next few years.
So far this year, Fernández has started 7 games and is 4-1 with a 1.74 ERA, 0.900 WHIP and 65 Strikeouts. He got roughed up a bit against the Phillies, but other than that he has been stellar. The point of this article is to not sit here and rant and rave about Fernández, even though I would do that in a heart beat. But, actually I am writing this because I want to make a few predictions:
1) Fernández will win 20 games this year
2) Fernández will have one of the best careers baseball has ever seen.
The first prediction is not as big a stretch, but still is one. This is only his second year in the BIGS but anyone that watch’s him can see he has the stuff. Fernández has 5 pitches at his disposal: a fastball, two seam fastball, curve ball, change-up, and slider. Fernández relies on his two fastballs and curve ball however, as they are his best pitches. His fastballs sit anywhere between 93-96 MPH. His curve ball on the other hand sits right between 82-84 MPH and drops so much that it can buckle your knees, just ask anyone who has faced him. The fact of the matter is, he has the stuff. The Miami Marlins are a bad team not because they have bad players, but because they are young. The Marlins would be lucky to hit .500 this year, but regardless of what happens, I believe Fernández can win 20 games. After all, why not? The Marlins have nothing to play for and Fernández is too good to allow the other team a chance at winning. Ultimately, the team should rally around Fernández and work extra hard on the days he pitches in order to get in the win.
The other prediction I made was that he was going to be one of the best baseball has seen. One reason why Fernández has the chance to become one of the best is because of something I already talked about, his pitch repertoire. To start off with, he is a strikeout pitcher, which are usually the guys to have longer careers. But what makes him different from anyone else is his off speed stuff. Strike out pitchers like Randy Johnson, CC Sabathia and Roy Halladay had or are still having great careers because they were pitchers who would overpower you. However, what they all find out sooner or later is that cannot be done anymore. Their velocity will leave them and then what? They either use their off speed stuff more or try to hit their pitch locations better. What makes Fernández different from these three guys is that he is already doing this. He is already using that disgusting curve ball a lot and working on making his change-up better and more important for him to use. He is also very good and getting better at hitting his locations.
Now obviously things can happen and he could end up getting derailed due to off the field issues, but I do not see Fernández running into that kind of trouble. He is a smart, and humble kid and knows how to conduct his life. He is 100% dedicated to the game, hell the guy was riding over 600 miles a week on his bike during the off-season so that way he would have better conditioning and would be able to stay in games longer. Athletes who have that type of dedication to the game they play usually do not end up screwing it up. He may have Tommy John at some point, but then again who doesn’t now a days, and that will not hurt him much. The other thing that makes Fernández almost destined to be great is that he just enjoys the game. He is always smiling, having a good time and trying to become better. Seeing anyone like that not only makes fans happy, but it makes the players play better. They want this guy to succeed, they want this guy to win.
José Fernández may be a winner among losers for the moment, but in the future I fully expect him to be the greatest among greats.
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All stats and information provided by wikipedia.org, mlb.com, fangraphs.com and baseball-reference.com