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Jose Miguel Fernandez Leaves Cuba To Pursue MLB Deal

Jose Miguel Fernandez Leaves Cuba To Pursue MLB Deal

Posted by PanamericanWorld on December 03, 2015

Jose Miguel Fernandez, a second baseman who ranked as the No. 3 player still in Cuba in April, has left the country to pursue a contract with a major league team, Baseball America has learned.

As a 27-year-old with seven seasons of experience in Cuba’s Serie Nacional, Fernandez will be exempt from the international bonus pools, and the interest from major league teams should be high. Fernandez is a major league-ready infielder with a short, quick swing from the left side, excellent bat control and stellar plate discipline. During the 2013-14 season playing for Matanzas in Serie Nacional, Fernandez hit .326/.482/.456 with 65 walks and 10 strikeouts in 314 plate appearances, ranking second in the league in OBP.

The problem is that it’s been more than a year since Fernandez last played in Cuba. Fernandez played the first few weeks of the 2014-15 season and was off to a .315/.415/.426 start with only one strikeout in 65 plate appearances before he was suspended for attempting to leave the country in October 2014. He missed the rest of the season and hasn’t played at all this year in Cuba or in any international tournaments because of the suspension.

With his bat-to-ball skills and ability to manage the strike zone, Fernandez is a potential high OBP threat in the major leagues, although his power is below-average. Speed isn’t part of Fernandez’s game, and his thickening lower half (listed at 5-foot-10, 185 pounds) has hampered his range at second base, where he’s at best an adequate defender. Fernandez also spent time at third base during the 2013-14 season, though his arm strength is better suited at second.

Fernandez had been the second baseman on the Cuban national team, including an impressive performance at the 2013 World Baseball Classic, where he hit .524/.545/.667 in 21 at-bats with no strikeouts. Scouts have been able to see him several times since then, including the 2013 World Port Tournament in the Netherlands, the 2013 friendship series against in the United States against the U.S. college national team, the 2014 Caribbean Series in Venezuela and a small tournament in Colombia last year in August.

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