CSS Button No Image Css3Menu.com

Baseball Prospectus home
  
  
Click here to log in Click here for forgotten password Click here to subscribe

<< Previous Article
Premium Article The Call-Up: Rafael Mo... (05/13)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Skewed Left: The Five ... (05/08)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Skewed Left: Dallas Ke... (05/22)
Next Article >>
Daily League Strategy:... (05/14)

May 13, 2014

Skewed Left

How Much Losing Jose Fernandez Hurts

by Zachary Levine

the archives are now free.

All Baseball Prospectus Premium and Fantasy articles more than a year old are now free as a thank you to the entire Internet for making our work possible.

Not a subscriber? Get exclusive content like this delivered hot to your inbox every weekday. Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get instant access to the best baseball content on the web.

Subscribe for $4.95 per month
Recurring subscription - cancel anytime.


a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Purchase a $39.95 gift subscription
a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Already a subscriber? Click here and use the blue login bar to log in.

Yesterday was a sad day down at headquarters.

Jose Fernandez is hurt, and in the BP cafeteria, the lights are a little dimmer, the music a little quieter, and the cake a little drier. We loved Jose Fernandez, and his baseball funeral was probably the saddest for anyone who was presumed to be out for the year. It was sadder than Matt Harvey’s. It was sadder than Stephen Strasburg’s. And it was sadder than the rest of the dozens (seriously, dozens) of pitchers whose fate likely awaits Fernandez with Tommy John Surgery presumed pending.

If you had asked around the Baseball Internet—and those are capital letters for a reason—yesterday morning whom its citizens would have been the saddest to see out for the season, it very well might have been Fernandez. It’s so much more than just the fact that he’s a good baseball player and we like watching those.

  • Fernandez is a cool story and we’re sad for him. He overcame so much in fleeing from Cuba, and we tend to root for guys like that—even more so when we’re not beaten over the head with the narrative, and the Fernandez narrative has been fairly quiet.

  • He’s ours. Jose Fernandez isn’t in big-airplay commercials. He isn’t all that recognizable outside of the serious or at least, with a Rookie of the Year Award, the semi-serious baseball community. The word “hipster” is used way too much by people who don’t know what it means, but there’s some element of his still belonging to us and not yet the world.

  • He’s young, and we like young players. Matt Holliday is a perennial All-Star, but we wouldn’t be one tenth this sad if we didn’t have Matt Holliday to watch tomorrow. We’re done with him. Until he hits 40 and becomes cool again—a Sam Miller theory, I believe—we have no more need for Matt Holliday.

  • We’re worried about his future. Tommy John Surgery isn’t perfect, and if you take Jose Fernandez away from us forever…

  • He’s the enemy of the enemy. The only thing that could get you more street cred and positive coverage among Baseball Twitter than fighting Brian McCann is taking performance-enhancing drugs. The internet doesn’t forget stuff like that. You’re always cool here, Jose.

  • He does cool things and is .gifable. And we’ll miss that.

Add it all up, and the baseball deities have taken away perhaps our must-est of the must-watch TV attractions, and we’re kinda pissed. Is Fernandez the answer to that question of whom the baseball internet would be saddest to see go down with an injury? I’m not sure either way, but here’s how I probably would have ranked the top 10.

Honorable mentions: Jose Abreu, Andrew Cashner, Bryce Harper, Joey Votto

10. Clayton Kershaw
If this were Opening Day, he’d be top two or three. He’s down the list because we’ve already been prepared for it. We’ve made it through a few weeks without Kershaw, and most of us are still here. But let’s still try not to, OK?

9. Bartolo Colon
Not so much because of the drugs boost but because of the .gifs. As with Fernandez, there’s a good chance you’ll see something new when he takes the mound—or more accurately, the batter’s box. If this were out of my life today, I’d be devastated.

8. Derek Jeter
That’s enough, Dad. Get away from my computer.

Okay, fine, this one is my pick. It’s the one where there would be the greatest difference between where I and the baseball internet would rank a player. In creating this list, I had originally thought about who would make the more casual fan the saddest if he were to get hurt. It would be Jeter if this is really the end, but he doesn’t have a lot of competition. I don’t think it’s Albert Pujols or David Ortiz. It might just be the most talented guys, like Andrew McCutchen, Mike Trout, Miguel Cabrera and Kershaw.

But Jeter belongs on this list. For everything that he’s not, there aren’t any other players with 3,348 hits and five championships retiring at the end of the year. A great player—one of the greatest of all time—who deserves not to have his exit taken away from him.

7a. Troy Tulowitzki
7b. Buster Posey

These are lumped together because they’d just be sad. Two of the best players in the game when healthy, the former on an MVP run for an unlikely contender. They deserve a little bit of good health.

6. Stephen Strasburg
As with Fernandez, the pitching porn in our lives would be greatly decreased if Strasburg had to cool off for another year. Add to that the extra sadness of watching a potential once-in-a-generation guy having to struggle back from a second Tommy John and all the hot takes that would harken back to The Decision. This is probably a conservative ranking. This would be awful.

5. Yasiel Puig
And by the way, the fact that Yoenis Cespedes and his beautiful bat flips are nowhere near the top 10 show just how fragile our use for you is.

4. Giancarlo Stanton
At 24, he’s the old man of the top four, but without him, a game that has been drained of so much of its power would lose even more. His place in the sport and its highlights right now is much more important than it would have been 5-10 years ago. The Strasburg-Fernandez porn thing applies on the other side of the ball.

3. Yordano Ventura
As an individual, would we miss him more than Stanton? Probably not. But he’s no. 3 for what he represents. If one 100 mph man can’t even make it past 10 career starts without Tommy John—and you have to imagine it’s coming at some point anyway—we should probably just pack this thing up and head home now. Ventura is the healthy, exciting guy still standing. His TJ would be a blow to hope.

2. Jose Fernandez
RIP. Come back stronger.

1. Mike Trout
He’s ours. He’s young. He does the amazing. He’s .gifable. He’s the best player in baseball. If he went away tomorrow, he wouldn’t just be depriving us of all those things, but the conversation as a GOAT candidate that will be so intriguing over the next 20 years changes instantly. Does the speed come back? Is he still a center fielder? Wait, why are you even mentioning Matt Kemp? Stop that right now.

Zachary Levine is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Zachary's other articles. You can contact Zachary by clicking here

Related Content:  Jose Fernandez,  Injuries

21 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

lipitorkid

I NEVER talk to my wife about baseball, especially anyone on my fantasy team unless I want to get mocked. Yesterday I spend 15 minutes explaining why I was so sad when I got home. When I was done she said "that's sad, I'll pray for him."

Jose Fernandez... the player your wife will pray for. #eulogy #waitingforLazarus

May 13, 2014 05:39 AM
rating: 15
 
Dave Brock

In my fantasy league, a friend and I are neck-and-neck with everyone else far behind. He lost Fernandez and I'm probably sadder than he is. Nothing matters in this world.

May 13, 2014 06:06 AM
rating: 6
 
jfranco77

C'mon. Andrew McCutchen needs to be on this list.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l8ifhB5aR9k

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EjbRh56WG9E

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HLVxMtzByrI

http://mlbfancave.mlb.com/assets/images/custom/RiskyBusiness_V2_1y4x085d.gif

Plunder the lox!!!

May 13, 2014 06:52 AM
rating: 5
 
CrashJones

Great article. I'm an A's fan, but I had a similar feeling with Harvey last year.
These are pitchers on other teams that I switch my MLB.TV feed over to watch.
It saddened me about Parker this year, but to lose a talented player from a game you love to watch, is upsetting all the same.

May 13, 2014 06:58 AM
rating: 1
 
Andrew13



I totally agree

He pitching performances were/will be again must see baseball every time out, just sucks for the whole baseball loving community

Get healthy and come back strong Jose, baseball fans everywhere are rooting for you

May 13, 2014 08:21 AM
rating: 2
 
psugator01

bartolo colon doesn't even sniff my top 10. the rest were good, though

May 13, 2014 07:59 AM
rating: 0
 
backwardgalaxy

Ugh, so sad.

May 13, 2014 08:49 AM
rating: 0
 
NYYanks826

Aroldis Chapman could potentially belong on this list.

I know we just spent the last month without his 102-mph fastball, but it would be a tragedy on a whole different level if we had to spend the next year plus not being able to witness the most explosive fastball in the history of the sport, combined with the questions about whether or not he would ever regain that velocity once he came back from the injury.

May 13, 2014 09:06 AM
rating: 1
 
DeathSpeculum

life has lost its meaning. going back to bed. wake me when this nightmare is over.

May 13, 2014 09:26 AM
rating: 1
 
berkoffm

When I heard about Fernandez, I immediately thought of Kerry Wood blowing out his elbow in 1999. How do folks think this compares? Which news was worse?

May 13, 2014 10:18 AM
rating: 2
 
Mags44

How is Carlos Gomez not on this list? NL Leader in WAR last year. Gold Glove OF, with many highlight reel plays taking away HR's...steals bases... hits long HR's... bat flips... even the occasional baserunning blunder due to over aggressiveness.... Easily should be in the top 5....

May 13, 2014 10:58 AM
rating: 0
 
oldbopper

The Oldbopper jinx strikes again. Last week I said he was better than Gooden at the same age and ZAAAAPPPP!!! Watching him pitch was electric, right from his stuff to his personality. I hope to see it again.

May 13, 2014 11:57 AM
rating: 0
 
rweiler

At age 21, Gooden was already in decline after being the best pitcher in baseball at age 19 and 20. Let's hope the same thing doesn't happen to Fernandez.

May 14, 2014 11:52 AM
rating: 0
 
oldbopper

Trout! I was asked recently by a friend to pick between Trout and Harper, and I couldn't get Trout's name out fast enough, then said, "He's Mays and Mantle." I could not offer a greater compliment.

May 13, 2014 12:21 PM
rating: 1
 
ssiegel

Ventura didn't break 90 until he was 18 I believe. Royals loved the fast arm action and projected a serious fastball, but his Dominican handlers didn't push him to throw hard. That delay likely saved his tendon a lot of premature stress. We'll see ....

May 13, 2014 13:05 PM
rating: 1
 
rweiler

The Padres would probably not be that unhappy if Mike Trout's career ended tomorrow as it would show that they were right to draft Donovan Tate 22 picks earlier. The Mariners ended up with an above replacement players, so they might still be sad. Then again, Trout is in their division which would no doubt make it bearable.

May 13, 2014 13:48 PM
rating: 0
 
ironcurtin

As a Mariners fan, I only loved watching Felix over Fernandez by the smallest of margins. That kid can do things with a baseball I can't do with a Whiffle ball. I really feel like something special was taken away...at least for a while.

May 13, 2014 15:28 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Zachary Levine
BP staff

McCutchen and Gomez are both good additions. In fact, Gomez just landed the Sports Illustrated cover, so I guess we'll get to see his Twitter funeral play out for ourselves in a few days now.

May 13, 2014 22:15 PM
 
BP staff member Zachary Levine
BP staff

Chapman's also a good one. Probably wouldn't have made the top 10 since I barely noticed he was gone since I just can't get that attached to relievers, but I definitely notice that he's back. If that made any sense.

May 13, 2014 22:17 PM
 
sbnirish77

I have Jose Fernandez AND Martin Perez on my keeper Strato team so it was a double depression day. Oh by the way I also have Strasburg and traded Chapman before being hit. Thank God for Obamacare.

May 13, 2014 23:07 PM
rating: 0
 
drawbb

I don't know what the heck a "hipster" is or why it's relevant to the comment about Fernandez not yet belonging to the world.

May 31, 2014 17:04 PM
rating: 0
 
You must be a Premium subscriber to post a comment.
Not a subscriber? Sign up today!
<< Previous Article
Premium Article The Call-Up: Rafael Mo... (05/13)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Skewed Left: The Five ... (05/08)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Skewed Left: Dallas Ke... (05/22)
Next Article >>
Daily League Strategy:... (05/14)

RECENTLY AT BASEBALL PROSPECTUS
Fantasy Article Free Agent Watch: Week Nine
West Coast By Us: Yo
Premium Article Minor League Update: Games of Thursday, May ...
Premium Article Rubbing Mud: Context is King
Premium Article Daisy Cutter: How the Kipnis Got His TAv
Premium Article What You Need to Know: Another Day, Another ...
Premium Article Release Points: Where Have You Gone, Stephen...

MORE FROM MAY 13, 2014
Eyewitness Accounts: May 13, 2014
Baseball Therapy: Analytical Master or Leade...
Premium Article What You Need to Know: Other Than Jose Ferna...
Working the Count: Don't Take Two Close Ones...
Premium Article Minor League Update: Games of Monday, May 12
Fantasy Article The Stash List: Fifth Edition
Fantasy Article Dynasty Dynamics: The U25 Top 150, Part One

MORE BY ZACHARY LEVINE
2014-06-05 - Premium Article Skewed Left: The Economics of the Singleton ...
2014-05-29 - Premium Article Skewed Left: What We've Learned About Replay
2014-05-22 - Premium Article Skewed Left: Dallas Keuchel Defies his Desti...
2014-05-13 - Premium Article Skewed Left: How Much Losing Jose Fernandez ...
2014-05-08 - Premium Article Skewed Left: The Five Teams That Don't Have ...
2014-05-01 - Premium Article Skewed Left: Staying Alive in the Independen...
2014-04-24 - Premium Article Skewed Left: The Squandered Promise of the D...
More...

MORE SKEWED LEFT
2014-06-05 - Premium Article Skewed Left: The Economics of the Singleton ...
2014-05-29 - Premium Article Skewed Left: What We've Learned About Replay
2014-05-22 - Premium Article Skewed Left: Dallas Keuchel Defies his Desti...
2014-05-13 - Premium Article Skewed Left: How Much Losing Jose Fernandez ...
2014-05-08 - Premium Article Skewed Left: The Five Teams That Don't Have ...
2014-05-01 - Premium Article Skewed Left: Staying Alive in the Independen...
2014-04-24 - Premium Article Skewed Left: The Squandered Promise of the D...
More...

INCOMING ARTICLE LINKS
2014-05-16 - Premium Article Raising Aces: The Injury Puzzle
2014-05-14 - Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Marmol Misses, Down an...
2014-05-14 - Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Nathan Eovaldi: Great or ...
2014-05-13 - Premium Article What You Need to Know: Other Than Jose Ferna...