Ten days after writing my first-ever fanpost and eight days after scoring a 72 on my Biology test (a C is average!), I am sitting down on my iPad again with nothing to do but blabber about Cardinal stuff.
So I have the Minor League Baseball app on my iPad, and I get pretty excited for games started by guys like Alex Reyes, Jack Flaherty, and Luke Weaver.
On September 6. the Palm Beach game was started by a pitcher who had only been in GCL this year: Junior Fernandez. I tapped on his name, and was surprised to see that the dude is only 18 years old. Most people on Palm Beach range between 22-25, so it's pretty exciting to see such a young talent in the middle levels of the system.
He ended up going three innings, allowing two runs (one earned) and seven hits, while getting one strikeout. In two appearances at Palm Beach this year, he has a 1.35 ERA in 6.2 innings, with 4 strikeouts.
I am pretty confused as to why Fernandez is even in Palm Beach. Pitchers like Jake Woodford, Jack Flaherty, Ronnie Williams, Austin Gomber, David Oca, Matt Pearce, and Sandy Alcantara are all far more deserving to receive this kind of opportunity. There are a couple different reasons why Fernandez could have skipped two entire levels all of a sudden: 1. He is prodigiously talented and somehow had a 3.88 ERA in GCL, by bad luck, a rough stretch, or fixed games, but now the Cardinals have solved the problem and he is now at a level appropriate for his godliness. 2. The Cardinals are experimenting to see what happens when they rush a prospect through the system with a disposable pitcher. 3. The Cardinals are giving lower-level prospects a taste of what the competition will be like higher in the system. 4. Auto-correct on someone's phone changed Jack Flaherty to Junior Fernandez.
If the first option is the true one, then we might as well forget about Alex Reyes, because this guy's a Hall of Famer. If it's number two, then it's a good idea to try and progress players faster to get them to the majors. In the case of number three, it's not a bad idea, actually a very good one, but I'd be disappointed to hear that he's going back down to Rookie ball after the season ends. The fourth option is the most plausible, because auto-correct is really stupid sometimes.
In all seriousness, I hope this guy gets a lot of attention in the offseason. For some reason, I feel like he'll be lost in the shuffle, and Alex Reyes is going to get 500 articles dedicated to him with this guy getting 0. Even if I don't know it, there is a resaon why an 18 year-old is in Palm Beach. I think we should all pay attention to this guy's progress. It will be interesting to see where this guy ends up next spring, what role he has, and how he performs. Either way, get
Jose Fernandez Junior Fernandez in the MLB in the next two or three years, so maybe we can all see another prodigious Cardinal pitcher, another man standing among the Cardinal legends of the past.