Blue Jays Jose Fernandez is on a roll. Putting up zeros and impressing with a 96 mph fastball out of the Triple-A Bisons bullpen
— HERD Chronicles (@HERDchronicles) August 14, 2018
The Toronto Blue Jays signed Jose Fernandez on January 5th, 2012 as an International Free Agent. The 6-foot-3 left-handed reliever has steadily moved up the organizational ladder over the past 6 seasons, finally reaching Triple-A in 2018 in season number 7.
In his age 25 season, Fernandez started 2018 at Double-A with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats. He posted a record of 3-1 with a 3.45 ERA. As a member of the Fisher Cats bullpen, Fernandez was routinely used late in games. He finished 10 games and was perfect in save situations (2-for-2). Jose was also asked to pitch multiple innings, being asked to get four or more outs 14 times.
On June 23rd, Jose Fernandez was called up to Triple-A joining the Buffalo Bisons bullpen. It was a bit of a surprise as he sported an ugly 6.61 BB/9 and 5.60 FIP with the Fisher Cats. After two scoreless relief appearances to kick off his Triple-A career, Fernandez ran into some trouble over the next month (July) posting a 5.68 ERA and 1.42 WHIP with a record of 1-2 in 9 games.
July wasn’t all bad. Fernandez finished the month with three scoreless outings. After allowing 2 runs on July 17th and July 19th outings, the lefty reliever worked two no-hit, no-walk innings on July 22nd. Then an inning and third no-hit, no-walk on July 28th and an inning of no-hit, no-walk on July 30th. This allowed Jose Fernandez to lower his ERA from 5.84 to 4.32 to begin the month of August.
With 6 appearances already in the books for August, Jose Fernandez continues to ride that scoreless streak he started on July 22nd. He allowed a base hit on the 1st of August and two base hits on the 4th of August but that is all. Three base hits, no runs, and 4 walks in 12 innings over 9 appearances, shaving more than a run off his ERA.
Fernandez has lowered his BB/9 from 6.61 to 2.96 since joining the Herd’s bullpen while maintaining his 9+ K/9. This has resulted in a much more appealing 1.19 WHIP and 3.13 K/BB. He is sporting a tidy 3.46 FIP and he’s been trusted to hold leads (5) and finish games (7).
Jose Fernandez struggled to get ground balls during his time in Double-A (26.6%). He’s had no such issues in Triple-A, generating groundball outs at a rate of 50% and 33.8 % for flyball outs. This works out to be 1.53 groundball outs for every flyball out.
Buffalo’s lefty has handled right-handed batters (.200 BA and 0.96 WHIP) while struggling against left-handed batters (.273 BA and 1.62 WHIP). He has pitched much better at home with a 2.16 ERA and 1.02 WHIP versus a 4.70 ERA and 1.57 WHIP on the road.
Jose Fernandez is an intriguing arm. In the past, he would lose the strike zone and struggled to regain it during any given outing. While he still loses the strike zone, it appears he has figured out how to harness his control enough to regain the strike zone before the inning unravels.
The Toronto Blue Jays have a decision to make concerning Jose Fernandez’ future. He is Rule 5 eligible and eligible to hit the free agent market at the end of the year. Unless Toronto wants to lose a left-handed reliever with a 96 mph fastball, Fernandez will need to find his way on the 40-man roster.
*Featured Image Credit: R.Mueller
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