Alonso right-handed pitcher Jose Fernandez, one of the bay area's top high school baseball players, has been ruled ineligible for his senior season, Alonso coach Landy Faedo confirmed Tuesday evening.
The Cuban-born Fernandez fled his home island successfully in 2007 through Mexico and enrolled at Alonso for the 2008-09 school year as a sophomore, but according to a Florida High School Athletic Association rule, he exhausted his eligibility at the end of last season.
FHSAA rule 9.5.1 states that every student athlete has four consecutive years of eligibility from the time the student begins the ninth grade. Fernandez began the ninth grade in fall 2006 in Cuba. During his 10th-grade year there, he made a failed attempt to flee to the United States. He was caught, returned to Cuba, briefly spent time in jail and did not continue school. When he enrolled at Alonso the next school year after spending time with his father in Mexico, he did so as a sophomore.
Fernandez is one of the area's top draft prospects. He played in this summer's Aflac All-America Game in San Diego and was his fastball was recently clocked at 97 miles per hour in the World Wood Bat Association Tournament in Jupiter.
Fernandez has an appeal with the FHSAA scheduled for later this month, Faedo said.
"I'm planning on him being there," Faedo said of Fernandez playing for the Ravens this season. "I can't see how they can't let him."
Fernandez recently committed to USF, and was also recruited by Miami. Faedo said he doesn't believe the situation will affect Fernandez's status for June's MLB Draft. The ruling on Fernandez's eligibility was first reported by Baseball America.
-- EDUARDO A. ENCINA (firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @EddieHometeam.