Jose Miguel Fernandez of Doosan Bears bats during the preseason game between LG Twins and Doosan Bears at Jamsil Baseball Stadium on April 21, 2020 in Seoul, South Korea. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)
By Matthew Tallarini
World Baseball Network
Cuban first baseman and designated hitter Jose Miguel Fernandez will play for Yaquis de Obregon for the 2023-24 Liga ARCO Mexicana del Pacifico season, Francys Romero of beisbolfr.com reported on Thursday.
Fernandez, 35, was born in Villa Clara, Cuba, and has been playing in the Korean Baseball Organization with the Doosan Bears from 2019-22.
Fernandez will be playing in his third professional winter season when he suits up with Yaquis de Obregon this year. He last played in the winter leagues with Estrellas Orientales in the 2018-19 Liga de Béisbol Profesional de la República Dominicana season, where he suited up in 21 games with 83 plate appearances, batting .222 recording 16 hits, one double, one home run, 14 RBI, eight walks, and 10 strikeouts.
This season, Fernandez played in Liga Mexicana de Béisbol with the Saraperos de Saltillo, signing with them on March 30. He played in nine games with 37 plate appearances, batting .219 with seven hits, two home runs, three RBI, four walks, and five strikeouts before being released on May 2.
During the 2022 season, Fernandez played in 139 games with the KBO’s Doosan Bears, batting .309 over 550 plate with recording 157 hits, 28 doubles, six home runs, 77 RBI, 35 walks, 45 strikeouts and a .752 OPS.
Fernandez began his big league journey back on December 2, 2015, when he left Cuba after unsuccessfully trying to leave the country earlier in the year. He was reportedly under heavy police guard prior to him leaving near the end of the 2014-15 Serie Nacional season, when he was in his eighth season with the Cocodrilos de Matanzas.
Upon leaving, Fernandez had yet to establish residency in another country, which resulted in him not being cleared from Major League Baseball to sign as an international free agent to a professional contract in the United States.
Fernandez signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers on January 11, 2017, after he spent his first winter season with Aguilas Cibaenas in Liga de Béisbol Profesional de la República Dominicana. He played in 18 games with 66 plate appearances, batting .286 with 16 hits, five RBI, eight walks, and five strikeouts.
He played one season with the Dodgers organization after participating in minor league camp, splitting time between Double-A Tulsa and Triple-A Oklahoma City, playing in 93 total games and batting .306 with 105 hits, 16 home runs, 65 RBI, 25 walks, 34 strikeouts and a .863 OPS before the Dodgers released him on November 17, 2017.
On January 5, 2018, the Los Angeles Angels signed Fernandez to a minor league contract along with an invitation to minor league spring training. He made his Major League debut on June 8, 2018.
Fernandez spent the 2018 Major League season shuttling between Triple-A Salt Lake City and the Angels, playing in 91 games with Salt Lake City and batting .333 with 119 hits, 19 doubles, one triple, 17 home runs, 59 RBI, 33 walks, 34 strikeouts and a .931 OPS. In the lone MLB season of his career, Fernandez hit .267 in 36 games with 123 plate appearances and 31 hits, eight doubles, two home runs, 11 RBI, six walks, and 56 strikeouts before heading to South Korea for the 2019 season.
In his rookie season, Fernandez won the Gold Glove Award and also he helped the Bears organization make their fifth straight consecutive appearance in the Korean Series and win their sixth Korean Series championship, sweeping the Kiwoom Heroes in the best-of-seven series. Fernandez led the 2019 season in the KBO with 197 hits, batting .344 in 144 games over 645 plate appearances with 34 doubles, 15 home runs, 88 RBI, 62 walks, 54 strikeouts and a .892 OPS.
Fernandez helped the Bears make it to the 2020 Korean Series for the sixth straight season in a row and would unfortunately fall short losing in six games to the NC Dinos. He led the KBO in hits with 199 during the 2020 season, which is still the most by any foreign professional in league history. In the 2020 season, he batted .340 playing in 144 games with 668 plate appearances recording 29 doubles, 21 home runs, 105 RBI, 58 walks, and 42 strikeouts alongside .901 OPS.
In 2021, Fernadez helped the Bears appear in their seventh straight Korean Series, where they were swept by the KT Wiz. Fernandez batted .315 in 141 regular season games with 617 plate appearances and 170 hits, 15 home runs, 81 RBI, 65 walks, 35 strikeouts and a .833 OPS.
Fernandez batted .328 with 2,480 plate appearances in 568 games recording 723 hits, 115 doubles, 57 home runs, 351 RBI, 219 walks, 176 strikeouts and a .848 OPS during his time in South Korea.
The Liga ARCO Mexicana del Pacifico 2023-24 regular season will begin on October 13.
The Yaquis de Obregon will open up the season on October 14 at home against Naranjeros de Hermosillo at Estadio Ciudad Obregón at 10:10 p.m. EDT.
All Liga ARCO Mexicana del Pacifico regular season games will be on https://www.extrabase.tv/home paid streaming service through the final out of their championship series in January, right before the 2024 Caribbean Series in Miami at loanDepot Park.