Marlins' Fernandez Climbs Ranks Of Pitching Elite





Best Player: Center fielder Christian Yelich put up robust numbers in 2011 playing half his games at low Class A Greensboro's hitter-friendly NewBridge Bank Park. Despite that, he had no trouble adjusting to the high Class A Florida State League's bigger venues this season.

A first-round pick in 2010, Yelich batted .330/.404/.519 in 397 at-bats for Jupiter and swiped 20 bags in 26 attempts. He hit .362 with a .952 OPS in the second half to help the Hammerheads earn a playoff berth, and the 20-year-old led the FSL in slugging and finished second in average and on-base percentage.

Best Pitcher: Righthander Jose Fernandez earned a midseason promotion from Greensboro to Jupiter, and after going a combined 14-1, 1.75 in 25 starts, he certainly won't have to repeat either level in 2013. Not after the 20-year-old led the minors in WHIP (0.93) and narrowly missed out on the ERA title.

Ten of the first 12 earned runs Fernandez allowed with Jupiter came during his first four FSL outings. In the seven that followed, he gave up 18 hits, walked 13 and struck out 39 in 35 innings. On the season, the 2011 first-rounder notched a 158-35 K-BB ratio and allowed just two homers in 134 innings.

Keep An Eye On: First baseman Viosergy Rosa repeated the short-season New York-Penn League in 2012, but the results could not be more different from 2011. The 22-year-old owes his change of fortune to an improved walk-to-strikeout ratio that improved from a dismal 7-to-54 a year ago to an even 46-to-45 this time.

Rosa batted .279/.413/.386 with three homers in 197 at-bats for Jamestown, ranking third in the NY-P in both walks and OBP. A 29th-round pick in 2010 out of Odessa (Texas) JC, Rosa collected nearly half of his 15 extra-base hits during July, when he hit .394 with two homers and five doubles.

FISH BITES

• Yelich, fellow outfielder Marcell Ozuna and shortstop Danny Black all made the Florida State League's postseason all-star team. Manager Andy Haines was one of two coaches receiving recognition as well.

• Despite losing its final four games of the season to Hurricane Isaac, Triple-A New Orleans set a new single-season franchise record for homers (153), topping the previous mark of 147 in 2004.