The Miami Marlins just got the worst diagnosis possible on their 21-year-old ace pitcher. Jose Fernandez has a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow and he will almost certainly undergo Tommy John surgery soon.
Dr. Neal ElAttrache (no that’s not a typo) recommended surgery for the young right-hander and that will put him out anywhere from 12 to 15 months. Fernandez had established himself as one of baseball’s best pitchers in just over a year of big league service time and was the unquestioned ace of Miami’s staff.
If there is any good news in this situation, it’s that Fernandez won’t even turn 22 until July, so he has a young body that will likely respond well to surgery and treatment. All is not lost.
Fernandez burst onto the scene in 2013, winning National League Rookie of the Year honors with a stellar season. He posted a 12-6 record, with a 2.19 ERA, a 0.98 WHIP and 187 strikeouts. He allowed just 111 hits in 172.2 innings over 28 starts. In eight starts this season he had a 4-2 record with a 2.44 ERA, 0.95 WHIP and 70 strikeouts. He allowed just 36 hits and 13 walks in 51.2 innings.
The 14th overall pick from the 2011 MLB Draft signed to a $2 million bonus and rapidly rose through Miami’s system, making the big leagues far before anyone anticipated he would.
But in his last start against the San Diego Padres, Fernandez was lit up for six runs (five earned) and the last pitch he threw was tattooed by Jedd Gyorko for a grand slam. That will apparently be the last pitch he throws for a long time.
Fernandez could opt to try for rehab on the torn ligament, but that almost never works. The smart move would be for him to have the surgery as early as possible to get him back to full health as soon as possible. He’s a huge part of the future in Miami.