José Miguel Fernandez

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José Miguel Fernández Diaz

  • Bats Left, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 10", Weight 185 lb.

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Biographical Information[edit]

José Miguel Fernandez was an infielder for the Rojos de Matanzas and for the Cuban national team before defecting and reaching the major leagues in 2018.

Fernández debuted in the Cuban Serie Nacional in 2007-2008, hitting .291/.343/.350 and fielding .973. In 2008-2009, he batted .319/.372/.379 and fielded .984 at 2B for Matanzas. He grounded into a league-worst 21 double plays but tied for the league lead with 85 double plays turned. In 2009-2010, José continued to improve, with a batting line of .346/.391/.469, while fielding .980. He was among the league leaders in at-bats (382, 1st), hits (132, 2nd, 2 behind Yunier Mendoza), assists (308, 8th) and double plays (104, 3rd).

Fernández faded to .279/.340/.370 offensively and .973 defensively in 2010-2011. In 2011-2012, he rebounded to .317/.444/.453 while fielding .971. He was named the league's All-Star utility man. He played for Cuba in the 2013 World Baseball Classic.

In 2015, after seven seasons for Matanzas, he was suspended for trying to defect to the United States. He managed to leave Cuba in December of that year, and was out of action until suiting up in the Dominican League in 2016-17, where he hit .286 in 18 games. He then signed a contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers for $200,000, well below the bonuses given other former Cuban stars, but was given an invitation to attend spring training in 2017. He spent most of that year with the AA Tulsa Drillers, for whom he hit .306 with 16 home runs in 90 games. He also played 3 games for the Oklahoma City Dodgers. The Dodgers released him the following November, but he signed a couple of months later with the Los Angeles Angels. He started to 2018 season in AAA with the Salt Lake Bees, for whom he hit .345 with 10 homers and 39 RBIs in 53 games while playing first, second and third base. On June 8th, he was called up to Anaheim when Shohei Ohtani went on the disabled list. That day, he made his major league debut starting at first base against the Minnesota Twins, going 1 for 3 in a 4-2 win. The Angels released him at the end of November 2018.

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