This MLB Fan Essentials series will serve one purpose. To profile above average players from Major League Baseball who may not even be on a savvy fan’s radar just yet. The bottom line is, if you want to be a knowledgeable fan, you need to know these players. Today we start with Jose Fernandez.

Who is this guy?

Jose Fernandez is a rookie pitcher for the Miami Marlins. He is 21 years old, originally from Cuba. He defected to the United States in 2008 with his mother and sister. In 2011, the Marlins drafted him in the first round. According to Fan Graphs, he throws a fastball, curveball, slider and changeup.

Why should I care?

If it weren’t for the 2013 “Bieber-Fever” like phenomenon known as Yasiel Puig, Fernandez would basically be a lock for NL Rookie of the Year. Here are Fernandez’s stats through 21 starts.

Wins (8), Losses (5), IP (127.2), H (86), K (138), ERA (2.54), WHIP (1.01)

Remember that he plays for the Marlins before you scratch your head about that 8-5 record. He’s tied for 14th in the Majors when it comes to Quality Start percentage. Fernandez was also selected to the 2013 All-Star team, where he pitched a perfect inning for the National League.

Stand out statistic?

In his last two starts, Fernandez struck out 13 and 14 respectively. Not only are the 14 K’s a Marlins rookie record, but Elias also tells us that Fernandez is only the 5th player under the age of 22 since 1900 to strikeout 13 in consecutive games.

You’ve sold me, now show me something!

Here are the highlights of Fernandez’s Major League debut versus the Mets where he struck out 8 over 5 innings.

Bonus video: Fernandez reacts to a Giancarlo Stanton home run in the 9th. Comedy gold.

Eric Cooper is a fan of all things MLB. When he's not watching baseball, he enjoys spending time with his wife, son and dog. He also finds it hilarious that Larry Allen referred to a '40 ounce' during his Hall of Fame induction speech. You can follow him @ericbss77