Alonso senior right-hander Jose Fernandez will pitch in his third state tournament next week -- and hopes to finish his high school career with a second Class 6A state title.
After that, Fernandez will likely be drafted in June's annual Major League Baseball first-year player draft, and according to Baseball America, his stock is continuing to rise leading up to draft day.
In Baseball America's 2011 draft projections released Monday, Fernandez is ranked No. 19 overall, up three spots. He is the 10th-highest high school player.
Last week, a mock draft by Baseball America's Jim Callis had Fernandez being selected No. 24 overall by the hometown Tampa Bay Rays.
Fernandez improved his career postseason record to 10-0 with a 4-2 complete-game win over Orlando Dr. Phillips in Friday's 6A region final. Fernandez was clocked as high as 98 mph in the seventh inning.
As a sophomore, Fernandez was the winning pitcher in the Class 6A state title game, a 4-3 win over Miami Columbus. After Alonso lost in the state semifinals last season, Fernandez has a change to cap his high school career on top.
“This year we’re going to fight for it," Fernandez said about returning to states after Friday's start. "I’m ready for it. I would pitch in the pros right now if they would let me. I wasn’t tired tonight at all.”
-- EDUARDO A. ENCINA (firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @EddieHometeam)