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June 6, 2011: The Miami Marlins select right-handed pitcher Jose Fernandez with the 14th overall pick of the MLB Draft. He signed for a $2 million bonus. His scouting report out of Tampa’s Alonso High School was that he was primarily a fastball-slider pitcher, with his fastball hitting 97-98 mph but sitting regularly around 93-95 mph while the slider had “late movement that is nasty at times.”
“We liked everything about him,’‘ Jim Fleming, the Marlins’ former vice president of player development and scouting, said after drafting Fernandez. “We saw the film of him. He’s a big, strong kid with pitches in place. ... If you know anything about his background, the adversity he’s been through, he has a good work ethic. He looks to be good. It was just kind of a guy that excited from the first day.’‘
April 7, 2013: After just 27 starts in the minor leagues, no higher than Class A Advanced level, Jose Fernandez made his MLB debut. He threw five innings, giving up just one run on three hits and a walk while striking out eight (a record for a Marlins pitcher in his MLB debut) in a 4-3 Marlins walk-off loss to the New York Mets.
Fernandez retired the first 10 batters he faced, five by strikeout, before giving up a ground ball single to Daniel Murphy in the fourth inning. An Anthony Recker RBI double to left field in the fifth drove in the first and only run Fernandez allowed in the outing.
“I really thought [the feeling] was going to be a lot bigger,” Fernandez said, “like the first inning I was going to be a little nervous. I felt like I was pitching in spring training.”
July 15, 2013: Fernandez, as a rookie, was named to his first All-Star Game. He threw a shutout sixth inning, striking out Dustin Pedroia and Chris Davis with Miguel Cabrera popping out in between those two strikeouts.
July 23, 2013, July 28, 2013, and Aug. 2, 2013: Fernandez had his share of strong starts heading into the All-Star Break, pitching to a 2.75 ERA in 18 outings.
But his first three of the second half of his rookie season provided a glimpse of what a dominant Jose Fernandez could become.
Twenty-three innings. Four runs allowed. 35 strikeouts against just three walks. The stretch was capped by a 14-strikeout outing over eight shutout, three-hit innings against the Cleveland Indians.
“It’s so much fun,” Fernandez said, “every pitch for me.”
Nov. 11, 2013: After pitching to a 2.19 ERA, the second-best mark in the majors and the second-best mark in Marlins franchise history, Fernandez earned National League Rookie of the Year honors. He was the fourth Marlins player to win the award, joining Dontrelle Willis, Hanley Ramirez and Chris Coghlan. Fernandez also finished third in voting for the NL Cy Young Award behind Clayton Kershaw and Adam Wainwright.
May 16, 2014: Fernandez underwent Tommy John surgery, ending his second MLB season after just eight starts. He went 4-2 with a 2.44 ERA prior to the injury, striking out 70 while walking 13 over 51 2/3 innings. Opponents were hitting just .188 against him. Eleven of the 14 earned runs he allowed came in two starts. He gave up six runs in four innings against the Philadelphia Phillies on April 11 and six runs (five earned) in five innings against the San Diego Padres on May 9, his final start of the season during which Fernandez said he had elbow discomfort.
July 2, 2015: After 13 and a half months, Fernandez made his return from Tommy John surgery and received a standing ovation from the Marlins Park crowd as he stepped onto the mound in the first inning. He held the San Francisco Giants to three runs on seven hits with six strikeouts in six innings.
Fernandez also hit a home run in the fifth inning, a solo shot to left-center field that sparked a four-run inning. It remains the most recent occurrence of a Marlins pitcher hitting a home run.
“It’s actually here. It’s right now,” Fernandez said of the emotions that came with his return to the field. “Life gave me another chance to do what I love. I almost teared up.”
Sept. 25, 2015: Fernandez made 11 starts in 2015, going 6-1 with a 2.92 ERA and 79 strikeouts against 14 walks over 64 2/3 innings. He made history with his penultimate start of the season. Despite giving up a career-high-tying six earned runs over five innings, Fernandez was credited with the win in Miami’s 12-11 home victory over the Atlanta Braves. That win marked Fernandez’s 17th consecutive winning decision at home. He became the first pitcher since 1900 to open his career with 17 home wins without a loss.
“Lucky, blessed,” Fernandez said about getting the record. “It feels special. I’m not going to lie. I thought about it.”
July 12, 2016: Fernandez earned his his second All-Star Game nomination, giving up one run while striking out one over 1 1/3 innings. The one run he gave up? A home run to David Ortiz, a player Fernandez had been a fan of since he was a seventh-grader in Cuba.
“I was nervous because I couldn’t believe I was actually pitching to him,” Fernandez said. “It was just great. He signed the jersey that I brought for him. His was the first baseball jersey that I bought when I came to the United States. It was a humbling experience seeing how time really flies by.”
Sept. 20, 2016: Fernandez threw eight shutout innings with 12 strikeouts in a 1-0 win against the Washington Nationals. He allowed just three hits in the outing, his final MLB start. Fernandez’s 253 strikeouts from the 2016 season remain the Marlins’ single-season franchise record.