One of the brightest stars in the game of baseball today, Miami Marlins starting pitcher Jose Fernandez has died in a boating accident. He was 24 years old. According to CBS Miami, the Miami-Dade rescue team responded to a boating accident around three a.m. Eastern time. Fernandez was scheduled to start today's game against the Atlanta Braves, but now that game has been canceled.
Fernandez set the baseball world on fire in 2013, his rookie season. In 28 starts, he had 187 strikeouts in just 172.2 innings with a 12-6 record, a 2.19 ERA, and had a 6.3 bWAR. That excellent performance led to winning the National League Rookie of the Year award over Los Angeles Dodgers Yaisel Puig and finished third in the NL Cy Young race behind winner Clayton Kershaw and Adam Wainwright.
Much excitement followed Fernandez into 2014, but he suffered a significant elbow injury which led to Tommy John surgery. He made only eight starts in 2014 and just 11 in 2015. Despite the injury severity, Fernandez was performing at the highest level and was having a terrific 2016 season.
In 29 starts this year, Fernandez was leading the NL in FIP (2.29)with a career high in wins (16), strikeouts (253), and innings (182.2 IP).
Fernandez was born in Santa Clara, Cuba. At the age of 15, he and his family had tried to deport from the country but finally succeeded on their fourth try. That attempt almost cost the life of Fernandez's mother.
During the final attempt, Fernandez courageously jumped into the Gulf of Mexico waters to save his mother after rough waves knocked her overboard. He would later say he didn't realize it was his mother who went overboard until he reached her in the water -- he reacted and jumped right in as soon as he saw someone get swept over.
In response to the tragic news, the Marlins released a statement.
Statement from the Miami Marlins organization: pic.twitter.com/6A4Rv6m2g9— Miami Marlins (@Marlins) September 25, 2016