One of the top players in Cuba, second baseman Jose Miguel Fernandez, has left the island and will seek a Major League contract, reports Ben Badler of Baseball America. Badler ranked Fernandez, 27, as the No. 3 player in Cuba back in April.
Because of his age and professional experience in Cuba’s Serie Nacional, Fernandez will be exempt from international bonus pools and free to sign a Major League contract for any amount of years and dollars. An exact timeframe is impossible to peg, as other Cuban free agents have demonstrated in the past. Fernandez first needs to establish residency in a different country and then be cleared by Major League Baseball before he’s eligible to sign. Badler expresses doubt that all of those steps will happen before Opening Day 2016.
Badler calls the 5’10”, 185-pound Fernandez MLB-ready, praising his short, quick left-handed stroke and excellent plate discipline. However, it’s been roughly a year since Fernandez saw in-game action, as he was suspended by the league for previously trying and (clearly) failing to defect early in the 2014-15 campaign. Last winter, Kiley McDaniel said on a Fangraphs podcast that Fernandez was being heavily guarded by police in Cuba after his failed attempt to defect.
Fernandez’s contact skills and keen eye are his best tools, as Badler notes that he has below-average power, isn’t particularly fleet of foot and is adequate, but not exceptional at second base from a defensive standpoint. He’s played third base in the past but doesn’t quite have the arm strength to profile at that position, Badler adds. On the flip side, Fernandez’s knack for making contact is astounding; he’s struck out just 113 times in 2,580 career plate appearances in Serie Nacional — a rate of just 4.3 percent. That number is even more impressive when juxtaposed with his 10.1 percent walk rate (263 walks in those 2,580 PAs). All told, Fernandez is a .319/.403/.423 hitter in his Cuban career, not including international tournaments like the 2013 World Baseball Classic, where he batted .524/.545/.667 in 21 at-bat without striking out, per Badler.
While Fernandez may not have the power or speed required to give him superstar upside, he’s a prime-aged, Major League ready second base option that seems capable of posting a strong OBP and hitting for a solid average in the Majors. That’s an appealing player even if he’s not an All-Star in the making, and clubs with deficiencies at second base — or, perhaps, teams that lose a second baseman to injury in Spring Training — figure to show interest in Fernandez if and when he is declared a free agent by the league.
Photo courtesy of Alyson Boyer Rode.
White Sox could use him.
YES. This is exactly the option the sox could use. Could be similar to the Alexei Deal before 2008. Less defense but the contact is a big factor. Jose Abreu could give him a call and talk to him about coming here. Lots of Cuban history in Chicago.
Even with their internal solutions at 2B, I wonder if the Yankees would have interest.
I doubt it, with his defensive downside, he’s too similar to Refsnyder to be worth the investment.
If only the yankees didn’t avoid Cuban players like the plague #narratives
Doubt it John…he’ll sign for every penny he can get.
Given that your paying for a skill set is based on a keen eye that lend to not striking out ,putting the ball in play, not particularly fast, no significant power, and average at best defensive skills, the internal options the Yanks have grade out as much better options don’t you think?
I wonder if this news could change the Zobrist market.
I doubt it since he won’t be ready before opening day
The Royals need a 2nd basemen there probably gonna give up zobrist if they can get this kid which i would want this kid more than zobrist
Its the Nationals or Royals after this guy. Nats don’t trust Espinosa as much and want a 2B. Perfect for DC
Not with Dee Gordon already in the fold.
So, basically he plays for the Dodgers.
Braves will trade for him soon
Yes but the Dodgers will still pay him
But the Marlins will throw in a Competitive Balance Pick for the sport of it.
Well there goes Albies then, it’s not like Braves need young position players anyways.
They’ll probably be dumping some salary as well…
Lets go Eppler
Everyone is missing the obvious…. Dodgers. They are the Ellis island of MLB
Maybe the M’s should consider moving Cano to first base next season or the season after?
Angels need a 2B
They’re not that stupid. This is the kind of guy the Dodgers live for. They can just pile his salary on top of the 50 Million they’re paying players not to play for the Dodgers.
I see White Sox, Diamondbacks, Angels, Brewers, Pirates, Tigers, Royals, Padres, and Phillies as the players for him.
Definitely not the Pirates unfortunately
definitely the Royals because the Royals are a contact team that puts the ball in play so he fits the Royals play style .
Sounds like he could have Jason Kipnis like production with far less K’s. Kipnis this year had about below average to average speed/power with solid average/OBP. Left handed bat as well.
I would love for the Angels to take a flier on him but given his delayed arrival, he’ll more likely draw interest from a team not in immediate need of an upgrade or on a longer timetable to contention.
Sounds like a Royals fit player, good contact very few strikeouts seems like a very good player, definitely fits the Royals Play style.