Jose Fernandez was diagnosed with a UCL tear and Tommy John surgery has been recommended, putting Fernandez's future behind the glass of uncertainty. According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, Fernandez received the initial diagnosis from physician Neal ElAttrache. Though Fernandez is seeking a second opinion, he is almost assured to be out of service for the next year.
Fernandez is believed to have felt the elbow discomfort during his recent start at San Diego, when the Padres roughed him up for six runs (five earned), including two home runs, in five innings in a 10-1 Marlins loss.
It was after that outing that he and the team decided to see Dr. ElAttrache of the famous Kerlan-Jobe Clinic in Los Angeles, where the so-called Tommy John surgery was first conceived and tried.
Last season, Fernandez pitched brilliantly. He was called up from the Jupiter Hammerheads, the Marlins High-A affiliate. After skipping two developmental leagues, Fernandez threw 172.2 innings in 28 starts last season, striking out 187 batters and walking just 58.
His 2.19 ERA was second only to Clayton Kershaw's 1.83, helping him to finish third in Cy Young voting and first in the National League Rookie of the Year race. He also made his first All-Star appearance last season.
This year, Fernandez was off to an even more impressive start. He had 70 strikeouts in just 51.2 innings. He had the best K/9 rate among qualified pitchers in the entirety of Major League Baseball. His 1.6 fWAR put him first in the National League amongst starters.
And though the success rate of Tommy John surgeries is considerable, there is still the fear that baseball may have lost one of its best, young pitchers.