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Sunday, July 17, 2022

Jose Fernandez worked on his hitting out of college; Saw seven pro seasons, made AAA

Jose Fernandez knew what he needed to do coming out of college in June 1989: Improve his hitting, he told The Palm Beach Post.

But the 14th round Cardinals pick also knew he had work to do elsewhere, too, he told The Post

"I have to hit for average a little more," Fernandez told The Post. "The main reason I was drafted was for my defensive skills. But I need to improve there, too. Right now that's my strong point."

Fernandez improved enough to see seven pro seasons - and to make AAA. But he never could make the majors. His AAA time consisted of 42 games over three seasons.

Fernandez' career began that year in 1989, taken by the Cardinals in the 14th round of the draft out of the University of Florida.

At Florida, Fernandez drew praise from his coach Joe Arnold, as they worked on the catcher's offensive skills then, The South Florida Sun Sentinel wrote.

"He's one of the best catchers in the country," Arnold told The Sun Sentinel. "Potentially, he's a great catcher.  If he gets his offense going, on a consistent basis, he'll be a good major league catcher. If he doesn't, he'll be a good backup major league catcher."

Fernandez started with the Cardinals at short-season Hamilton. He hit .200 over 52 games, with five home runs.

He moved to high-A St. Petersburg and AA Arkansas in 1990, splitting time between the t wo. Overall, he hit .206 in 97 games. He played at Arkansas all of 1991 and then made AAA Louisville for 12 games in 1992. 

Frustrations, however, began to set in, according to The Post. After being told he had a chance at playing every day at AAA, they instead pegged him as a backup at AA. He soon won a trade to the Phillies. 

"I needed some new life," Fernandez told The Post then. "I'll be the first to admit that last year I got off to a bad start, but they abandoned me after 38 at bats and sent me to Double-A as the backup. At least here I have a chance to show what I can do."

Fernandez saw 16 games at AAA Scranton and 38 at AA Reading. He hit .236 over the two levels. he then returned to the Cardinals for 1994. He saw 14 games and hit .286 to end his career.

1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:3,966
Made the Majors:1,322-33.3%
Never Made Majors:2,644-66.7%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors:541
10+ Seasons in the Minors:329

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