The Marlins announced that they’ve claimed right-hander Julian Fernandez off waivers from the Giants. Their 40-man roster now has 36 players.
The Giants selected Fernandez, 22, out of the Rockies organization with the second pick in the 2017 Rule 5 Draft. However, the right-hander suffered a UCL tear in Spring Training and underwent Tommy John surgery in early April. He never pitched in a regular-season game for the Giants, instead spending the season on the 60-day disabled list.
Fernandez should be recovered early in the 2019 season, but he’ll retain his Rule 5 eligibility next season after spending the year on the disabled list. Miami will technically be able to give him a month-long run in the minors as an injury rehab stint, but after that he’d need to be called up and spend 90 days on the active roster or else be put through waivers and offered back to the Rockies. That makes him somewhat of a long shot to actually stick with the Marlins, though as a team that won’t be in the playoff picture next season, they’re the type of club that can afford to carry an intriguing arm of this nature.
In 58 innings with Class-A Asheville in 2017, Fernandez worked to a 3.26 ERA with 8.8 K/9, 2.8 BB/9 and a 47.6 percent ground-ball rate. More than his numbers to date, however, the Marlins are betting on Fernandez’s huge velocity (as were the Giants). He’s been clocked in triple digits with his heater when healthy.