Trading (SP)Aces : Jose Fernandez

Welcome back to Paul’s Home Improvement Tips! I thought I’d catch some heat with my Gerrit Cole piece , but it turns out, based on the poll results, that I didn’t shock anyone.

In this series I’m going to look at SP Aces and decide what other Top Arms I would trade them for.  While Jim Finch compares players in his Mortal Kombat Series, I don’t want anyone getting hurt here. Funny, I say that during all of my home improvement jobs too.

Continuing this series, let’s look at the reigning National League Rookie of the Year: Jose Fernandez.  There’s going to be some pretty sick numbers in this table, but try to pick him out.


Pitcher ERA GS IP K/9 BB/9 GB% FB% HR/FB xFIP
A 2.90 32 214 10.1 2.9 36 45 7.6 3.16
B 2.19 28 173 9.8 3.0 45 33 7.1 3.08
C 2.94 34 241 8.2 1.3 49 28 8.1 2.80

Player B is Fernandez. The two arms I’m considering trading for Fernandez are (A) Max Scherzer and (C) Adam Wainwright

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Let’s take a look a closer look at Jose Fernandez.

The Arsenal:

Fernandez throws mostly fastballs (95-96mph) and curve balls (80-83mph) . He mixes in a sinker (92-94mph), a change up (87-89) and occasionally a ridiculously slow curve.

The curve ball is stupid and could be the best in the game, producing a whiff rate of 16%.

The Numbers:

With a 3.08 xFIP, nearly 10K/9, and some hardware to boot, Fernandez had a rookie season for the ages. Having made no appearances at Double A or Triple A, Fernandez went and absolutely dominated in his rookie season. Incredibly, he got better as the season went on.

Pre-Allstar Break 105 73 32 40 103 2.75 1.08
Post-Allstar Break 68 38 10 18 84 1.32 0.82

Fernandez showed no sign of fatigue or of slowing down at all in 2013. It’s possible that he got the experience he needed, and he reached a new level of performance. While young arms are often worrisome, I actually expect Fernandez to get better in 2014.


Jose Fernandez is one of the best pitchers in baseball right now. His brief minor league experience backs up his 2013 major league results. He has the arsenal and now the experience to get to the next level.

Let’s look at what to expect in 2014

Projections are from Dan Schwartz at For more info on how the projections are done click here.

RotoBanter 2014 Projections 5X5
28 175 9.7 3.2 44 35 8.0 3.03 12 3.33 1.19 188

This is a pretty conservative forecast as far as innings. It does a nice job of adjusting his BABIP (to .311  from .240). With 173 IP in 2013, I think it’s safe to add 25 innings for this 2014 forecast.

32 200 9.7 3.2 44 35 8.0 3.03 14 3.33 1.19 215

Trade Offer: Max Scherzer for Jose Fernandez.

In our first mock draft of 2014, Max Scherzer was selected in the 3rd round, pick 33 by The Assembly’s own Tommy Landseadel. Jose Fernandez I selected with pick 53 in the 5th round.

Scherzer is 29 years old with 5 seasons played in the major leagues.

Career 3.67 165 1019 9.4 2.8 39 41 10.4 3.49
2013 2.90 32 214 10.1 2.4 36 45 7.6 3.16

In 2013, Max Scherzer put it all together and deservedly won the AL Cy Young. His 2012 wasn’t really any worse. His BABIP improved from .333 to .259 and his HR/FB fell from 11.6 to 7.6%. He was just more fortunate and his K rate actually fell in 2013.  All this isn’t to cry LUCK for last year, but rather to say Scherzer really is one of the best arms in the game. With good fortune, he’ll win the Cy Young.

Let’s look at what to expect from Max Scherzer in 2014:

Rotobanter 2014 Projections 5×5
32 213 9.9 2.4 36 45 9.6 2.69 17 3.20 1.09 235

As you can see, Scherzer is forecasted to beat Fernandez in every category, even after I added 27 IP to Fernandez. While I believe Fernandez just started to realize his potential in his second half of his first season, the projection numbers here don’t support me. I had Fernandez ranked as my #3 starter heading into 2014. He’s now my #4.

Max Scherzer for Jose Fernandez? (redraft) NO

Max Scherzer for Jose Fernandez? (keeper/dynasty) YES


Trade Offer: Adam Wainwright for Jose Fernandez.

Wainwright was picked in the 3rd round as well in our early mock draft, pick 35 by our own Jim Finch.

The 32-year-old has 6 seasons of major league experience.

Career 3.11 185 1314 7.7 2.3 49 31 8.0 3.42
2013 2.94 34 242 8.2 1.3 49 28 8.1 2.80

2013 was a fantastic year, possibly the best one of Wainwright’s career. His K/BB rate was incredible, helped by 34.2 innings to start the season with issuing a single walk. The second half of 2013 wasn’t as kind.

Pre-Allstar Break 147 133 40 15 130 2.45 1.01
Post-Allstar Break 95 90 39 20 89 3.69 1.16

Let’s look at what to expect from Adam Wainwright in 2014

Rotobanter 2014 Projections 5×5
32 224 7.9 1.9 49 28 9.0 2.96 17 3.30 1.17 196

I like this projection for Wainwright. While he may win a few more games than Fernandez in 2014, the other categories should be similar, with Fernandez taking strike outs. With both forecasts being worthy for the 5th best starter in 2014, I’m going with the guy who turned in on at the end of 2013. I’d also take the K rate over the forecasted W expectancy.

Adam Wainwright for Jose Fernandez? (redraft) YES

Adam Wainwright for Jose Fernandez ? (keeper/dynasty) YES


While Fernandez doesn’t project to beat Scherzer or Wainwright next year, he is projected to put up top 5 numbers for starting pitchers, especially if he can get to 200 IP. His second half 11K/9 would put him above Scherzer’s numbers. Until he puts up a 200 IP season, there will be doubters. Take advantage if you can now and during the draft. This is a 21-year-old phenom who, regardless of what team he plays for, will likely add to that trophy case of his in the future. I may have gotten him with pick 53 in our Early Mock Draft as the 7th SP off the board, but I’d target him once the Top 3 were off the board.


Special Thanks to Dan Schwartz from RotoBanter.

Paul Hartman

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Fantasy Baseball player since 1987. Creator of Fantasy Assembly, yet just fortunate enough to be a part of it.

3 thoughts on “Trading (SP)Aces : Jose Fernandez”

  1. Thanks Paul. I agree on the IP projection for Jose. I guess it’s conservative based on his age – you would hope they are careful with him assuming they’re not in a race. Also, his 2nd half really makes me want to project him to be even more dominating but going off his peripherals (still incorporating his park factors, LOB% and skills like IFFB% and SwStr% now), i can’t project much better without manually doing so (rather keep in scientific in the same context as everyone else).

    Also if you ever want someone manipulated in some way based, let me know and we can run comps

  2. I agree with your conclusions here Paul. I think Wainwright is a little overrated in fantasy circles right now. He is an excellent real life pitcher, but his K rate does not allow him to have as high a ceiling as Fernandez. Fernandez is one of 5 or 6 pitchers I would consider drafting ahead of Wainwright.

    There is little doubt Fernandez will regress some in ERA and WHIP, but he should still be good enough to produce top 10 (maybe top 5) SP value, even for the lowly Marlins.

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