Manager Mike Redmond remembers how a young pitcher named Dontrelle Willis was called up from the minors by the Marlins in May 2003 and wound up at the All-Star Game that July after getting off to a 9-1 start.
Rookie Jose Fernandez, 20, hasn’t matched Willis’ performance, but Redmond thinks he has pitched well enough to warrant consideration as the Marlins’ representative at this year’s All-Star Game.
“He definitely has been one of our best players,’’ Redmond said of Fernandez, who is 4-4 with a 3.05 ERA.
“He has done a great job. I think it’d be cool to have an exciting young player like him (at the All-Star Game). I remember Dontrelle coming up and getting (to) the All-Star Game is his first year. Obviously he won 9 or 10 in a row, but we’ll see. It would be a great honor for (Fernandez).’’
Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who will manage the National League team, called Fernandez “a nice young talent. … At his age, doing the things that he’s doing is pretty impressive. He’s their No. 1 guy and is going to be around for a long time.’’
Another All-Star candidate is right fielder Giancarlo Stanton, who was named to the All-Star team last year but couldn’t attend because of a knee injury.
Stanton missed 36 games this year because of a right hamstring strain but went into Friday batting .333 with four homers and 10 RBIs in 10 games since his return from the disabled list.
Fernandez, whose next start is Tuesday, has played for the Marlins all year and could strengthen his case in the next week.
He has logged 79 2/3 innings, roughly halfway to the pre-determined limit of 150 to 170 innings. If he maintains his current pace, he could get shut down the first week of September.
“That’s a conversation for down the road,’’ Redmond said.
“We’ve got a number of pitches where we try to keep him around. We’ve had the leeway the whole time. It just kind of goes by how he does, how effective he is with his pitches, which types of stressful innings he has. He has done a great job.’’
LIGHTING IT UP
Nathan Eovaldi, who makes his second start of the season Sunday, gave the Marlins plenty of optimism Tuesday night that his ailing right shoulder is feeling just fine.
After starting the season on the DL with shoulder inflammation, Eovaldi touched 99 mph on Tuesday night with several fastballs.
“I was pleasantly surprised,” Redmond said. “He was able to maintain his fastball over the course of his 84 pitches. He was really good.”
Eovaldi, 23, allowed two runs in six innings.
Meanwhile, right-hander Henderson Alvarez, who also started the season on the DL with right shoulder inflammation, could join the Marlins sometime this coming week. He was in line to make a third rehab start Sunday.
SULTAN OF SCORCH
And now for some bat velocity: 114 mph: That’s how fast the ball has rocketed off Stanton’s bat at least twice this year, according to SportsVision data.
Stanton singled off the Cubs’ Edwin Jackson on April 25 and hit into a double play in Minnesota on April 23, with the ball leaving his bat each time at 114 mph.
No one has hit a ball harder this year, according to research compiled by Eric Esteban at Fox Sports Florida. The only one who came close was the Angels’ Mark Trumbo, who hit a 112 mph home run May 3.
ON THE FARM
Class AAA New Orleans: C Kyle Skipworth hit a grand slam in the bottom of the ninth inning Wednesday to give the Zephyrs a 4-3 win over Oklahoma City. Skipworth, Miami’s first-round pick in 2008, went into Friday batting just .165 with two homers and 13 RBIs along with 37 strikeouts in 97 at-bats.
Class AA Jacksonville: OF Jake Marisnick left Wednesday’s game after being struck on the left hand with a pitch. X-rays showed no break, and he was listed as day to day. He broke the same hand in spring training when he was hit by a pitch and missed all of April.
Class A Jupiter: Andrew Heaney, Miami’s first-round pick in 2012, allowed one hit over five innings Wednesday. He has a 1.07 ERA in six appearances (five starts) with 30 strikeouts and seven walks in 25 1/3 innings.
Class A Greensboro: OF Jesus Solorzano was batting .318 in June going into Friday. He was batting .285 overall.
Minnesota Twins, Tuesday-Wednesday: The Twins play in South Florida for the first time since 2007, when the Marlins lost two of three. The Marlins split a doubleheader in Minnesota on April 23, a day after their game was postponed because of snow.
San Diego Padres, Friday-Monday: The Marlins will try to muster a little more offense than they did they last time they played the Padres. Miami was outscored 11-1 in a three-game sweep in San Diego from May 6-8.