Marlins' Jose Fernandez Shows Maturity To Move





FORT LAUDERDALE—After answering a handful of questions about righthander Jose Fernandez and the combined no-hitter he helped orchestrate, low Class A Greensboro manager Dave Berg had a question of his own: "Can you keep him here all year?"

Unfortunately for Berg, he probably won't have Fernandez's services through season's end. The 14th overall pick last June out of Tampa's Alonso High, Fernandez had allowed just five earned runs in his first five starts for the Grasshoppers.

On April 24, he tossed the first six innings of a combined no-hitter against Hickory, striking out eight and walking two. Through 28 innings, the 19-year-old Fernandez had compiled 37 strikeouts while allowing nine walks and 16 hits.

The 6-foot-3, 215-pound righty already shows an advanced repertoire and the mound presence teams love to see in starting pitchers.

"He's young, but he's got above-average stuff, he has a feel for pitching, and he competes his butt off," Berg said. "He's a mature 19.

"All four of his pitches are good and he can throw them all for strikes. He'll drop a 3-1 breaking ball on a guy because he can throw his breaking ball for a strike. He's pretty advanced for this league."

Added president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest: "The physical maturity and the age probably bring him along a little bit quicker. At the same time, he's just starting his career. This is his entree, but he's impressive."

Relievers Carlos Martinez and Yorman Bazardo are the only pitchers in organization history to appear in a major league game before age 21. The Marlins never have fielded a 20-year-old starter, though Dontrelle Willis (27), Chris Volstad (14), Alex Sanabia and Brad Hand (12) and Ryan Dempster (11) all made double-digit starts as 21-year-olds.

"These guys make the decisions for you," Beinfest said. "We saw with Dontrelle and some of these guys, if they go out and dominate there's no reason why they can't move and move quickly."

Fernandez already possesses not only physical, but also mental, maturity. Berg said he's proved quite coachable and "he's not all about himself." His biggest issue right now, if you can call it that, is a tendency to try to trick guys when he can simply overpower them.

FISH BITES

• High Class A Jupiter center fielder Christian Yelich went 10-for-20 with two homers, two triples and two doubles in a late April stretch to win Florida State League player of the week honors.

• The Marlins placed Double-A first baseman Jaime Ortiz on the restricted list after he received a 50-game suspension for testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance.