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Jose Fernandez wins showdown with Yasiel Puig

Jose Fernandez got the better of Yasiel Puig in Monday's Miami showdown of rookie Cuban exiles, which -- for one night, anyhow -- brought some rare magic and excitement to Marlins Park. Though the upper deck was closed, the announced crowd of 27,127 represented the third-largest home figure of the season. There were 6,000 walk-ups, according to team officials.

They got their money's worth.

Puig was hitless in his three at bats against Fernandez and finished the night 0 for 5. After striking out in the fifth with runners at the corners, he became so upset with home plate umpire John Hirschbeck that he had to be calmed by Dodgers teammates Hanley Ramirez and Juan Uribe.

One game does not make or break a Rookie of the Year campaign. But Fernandez might be ahead in the straw poll if one were taken now. Check out this article by ESPN's David Schoenfield, who wrote that if the ROY vote were taken today, he would rate the edge to the Marlins' 21-year-old pitcher. Based on advanced metric formulas, Schoenfield points out that Fernandez holds a narrow edge over Puig.

The problems facing Fernandez in garnering top rookie honors are several. One, his season will soon be coming to an end when he reaches the innings cap the organization has placed upon him. He should receive no more than three or four more starts. Fernandez will turn into a spectator in September while Puig and the Dodgers remain in the national spotlight. Puig also plays in L.A., where there's no shortage of media hype. Finally, Puig is a position player who can dazzle and make the highlight reel on any given day. Being a starting pitcher, Fernandez can only show off once every five days -- and only a few more times, at that.

A few leftover stats from last night's game:

-- Fernandez improved his home numbers to 6-0 with a 1.40 ERA -- the best home ERA in the majors.

-- Fernandez set a club record by holding the opponent to five hits or less for the 11th consecutive start. Surprisingly, the old record of 10 straight belonged to Tony Saunders (1997).


The lingering fallout from the departure of hitting coach Tino Martinez might have cost Chris Valaika a roster spot (see my story here). According to sources, the Marilns wanted to call up Valaika from Triple A New Orleans after Placido Polanco went on the concussion list. But Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria vetoed the consensus recommendation of the front office and coaching staff, and Gil Velazquez was called up instead.

Speculation within the organization is that Loria nixed the move because of sentiment for Martinez, his hand-picked choice for the job. Martinez had a verbal altercation with Valaika -- among a host of players -- that culminated in his resignation last month. If Valaika is paying the price for his involvement, it probably doesn't bode well for Derek Dietrich, either. Dietrich was confronted physically by Martinez, as well as verbally, and is now playing at Double A Jacksonville.


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Puig had a nasty hangover.


Front office stupidity all around.

Let the kid finish the season. He has no mechanics problems like the ones that forced the Nats to shut down Strasburg. Fernandez still throws 99mph effortlessly. He'll be yet another Marlins ROY if the Marlins aren't stupid and don't shut him down early.

And Loria, how much hate can that man take? Another stupid move dictated by Loria. Valaika vs Velasquez, who would you take? Not Velasquez. Solano vs Dietrich? Is it even a question?

I think last season, when Ozzie commented how much he loves Castro, Castro was really a code word for the idiot dictator president-for-life Loria.

Marlin Fan

I'd take Solano . Both he and Dietrich are equal in fielding , Solano hits for a Bette average and better with RISP . If we want a 2nd baseman who hits 25 hr and has a .200 avg , he could have kept Uggla. Agree 100% with Valakia and Vasquez .


I watched an interview with Jose Fernandez last night on MLB Network and what a gem the Marlins have in this guy. He was asked about how he hangs out in the dugout until the last out and his answer was spot on. He basically said "I love this game" he was grateful for having an opportunity to play the game of baseball and that he enjoys watching his teammates play and perform on the field. I know that Puig is really rough around the edges but his attitude sucks compared to Jose's. I will enjoy watching him for the next several years until Loria trades him.

Stan M

Loria certainly has a penchant for screwing things up. That shouldn't have even been his decision. Regarding 2B, I think that eventually it will belong to a 20YO kid down in Batavia named Romero. Of the two mentioned above, Solano might be better suited to be a reserve, but is just fine starting for the short term. Dietrich seems to have more upside but he still has to prove it. He hasn't done much at all since being demoted.
I agree wholeheartedly with Bob concerning Fernandez. They could save a few innings here and there by pulling him if he had a good led...am I dreaming or what! I would think that a kid pitcher is more subject to injury by throwing too many pitches in one inning than too many in one game unless it is stressful. I cringe when I see a kid throw 40 pitches in one inning and in such an instance, it has to be stressful or he would have finished the inning with much fewer pitches.


Come on, my friends. Why even take a chance with Fernandez in a season that is dead and gone anyway? Save him for next year and the year after when wins and losses might make a difference. ROY? Who cares? We're talking about a future Cy Young winner, maybe many times over, if he's handled correctly.
Stan M...Both too many innings and too many pitches in one inning can leave him open to injury. One doesn't have to be worse than the other. Either one is bad enough.
If the Marlins had something to shoot for this year, I might say let him pitch. And maybe not. But why take a chance this year just because a few fans want to do something stupid?

Sunny Dee

Loria better be careful. If true, Loria's actions amount to retaliation and a violation of the whistleblower statute.

Flav C.

I think that everybody brought up very good points. In the end, I rather see a healthy Fernandez next season, so I would stick with the plan of shutting him down in September.

As far as 2B, I don't know how Dietrich will get better. And Romero, he hits for average, but not much power (very similar to Solano as far as extra-base hits). We'll only have a better idea when he moves up to A+ and plays around 100 games/season.

As far as Solano, he's played 93 games last season and 65 in 2013. It's close to a 162 games season. So, if we put this all as one cumulative season, he's hit .285 bat avg, 52 RBIs, 50 runs, .335 OBP and a very good .307 bat avg w/ RISP (35 for 114). Besides, he's had a .985 fielding pctg and 4.88 range/9 innings, both better than league average.

Until any other 2B in the organization can beat that, I am sticking with Solano, who has working hard to improve his game and has been silencing people who did not think he could keep up with his 2012 numbers. I am one of those.

Sunny Dee

On Fernandez, I could go either way. I'm not sure shutting him down early will preserve his future, but I don't know what the evidence is behind the decision. They are not in contention so it is not like the Nats stupid decision last year to shut down Strasburg. I wonder if Loria will veto shutting him down, however. Right now he is the biggest draw for the Marlins.


As I had posted... when this Tino Martinez flap had gone down....Dietrich is basically "dead man walking" with the Marlins. I hate to see him go, he's got good pop for a second baseman. Look for a give away trade.

Stan M

Flav, you raise much food for thought. I agree that Salano should be the second baseman until someone else beats him out and said the same thing in different words. I would differ with you to some degree about Dietrich and Romero. Regarding the former, it is too early to determine whether he will develop more power as he matures. He can darn sure hit for average. As for Dietrich and his possible upside, look at his two prior Minor League seasons. His stats were excellent with one major exception...strikeouts. I don't think that it is deniable that he has the potential to be a Chase Utley type hitter. However, that will never happen and you will be perfectly right if he doesn't improve his pitch selection. He was a marvel until the league realized that he couldn't lay off a high strike and he went downhill from there. Were he a couple of years younger, I would hold out more hope. All that being said, he showed that he could hit for extra base power and an acceptable average at two different levels. I don't know about you, but his fielding surprised me.
If Fernandez had anything but the very smooth delivery that he displays, I would agree that he should be shut down. Years ago in the Tom Seaver era, the technique that was prevalent was to drop and thrust. Now it seems to be all downward plane and shoulder and elbow miseries. Fernandez, in my opinion, seems to be somewhere in the middle and I don't see his arm falling off. Furthermore, his experiences as a youth in Cuba were likely far different than the over structured environment of our home grown pitchers.

Stan M

sorry, I meant the latter. Damn fool that I am, I reversed them.


I've read that Fernandez had very little baseball experience in Cuba and that he learned how to pitch in the U.S. In Cuba he was too busy trying to escape to play much baseball. What is the upside of letting him to continue to pitch this season? If he continues to pitch and gets hurt, it will prove to be the stupidest decision ever and Loria and Beinfest will be saying, damn, those guys on the Herald blog said that based on his delivery, they thought it would be alright.

Stan M

S&W, what you report is sort of what I was getting at. I was assuming, perhaps incorrectly, that he played baseball as we did generations ago here in America. That is throwing, catching all the time but not in any organized way. Arms were built simply by doing it all the time, not only at specific times and under specific and controlled conditions. In my opinion, that's why young arms break down. That and this high plane angle business. If he didn't play much, even independently in Cuba, then I'm all wet and not for the first time. But I'll still maintain that he has that fluid motion with good body involvement, so I don't think he will break down as easily as these herky, jerky dart throwers. But what do I know, I'm just an old man who loves the spot and is too damn optimistic.


Me, too, Stan...I'm just an old fan as well. I just don't want to take a chance with the best thing that's happened to the Marlins in a long time.

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