LOS ANGELES -- Jose Fernandez's seventh big league start was the first time his agent, Scott Boras, got to watch him pitch in person.
Fernandez, Miami's 20-year-old right-handed sensation, took the mound on Friday night at Dodger Stadium.
The Marlins moved Fernandez from Class A to the big leagues out of necessity. The day before the season opened, the team placed Henderson Alvarez and Nathan Eovaldi on the disabled list, each hindered by right shoulder inflammation.
So, without any Double-A development, Fernandez is developing in the big leagues.
"He doesn't have the typical soul of a 20-year-old," said Boras, a California-based agent. "He has an older soul. He loves to study hitting. He asked me information all the time."
Before the season started, Boras was informed of the Marlins' decision by team owner, Jeffrey Loria.
Boras says Fernandez is a rare talent because he commands three pitches. Along with a 95-plus-mph fastball, the Cuban-born right-hander has a plus slider and changeup.
"Placing him at the Major League level, it's challenged him, obviously, to pitch with three pitches, and create a more dynamic perspective [for hitters]," Boras said.
If Fernandez had gone to Double-A Jacksonville, he could have dominated basically with just his fastball.
"He had the ability to dominate with just one pitch," Boras said. "When you want a player to grow, normally the Minor Leagues, you're going to have to have him use three pitches to be effective as a preparation process."
The Marlins have already said they will closely monitor Fernandez, limiting him to between 150-170 innings.
"Again, the club has kind of said, 'We're going to keep him on a Minor League scale,'" Boras said. "If you're pitching a lot of innings prior to being 24, your chances of pitching after 30 are not good.
"Whether he pitches 150 or 160 innings in the Minor Leagues, the key thing for me is, this is the forum that allows him to really acquire the knowledge you would hope someone would acquire below. But you're doing it at the highest level, because the talent allows him to compete, and provide the team with an opportunity to win."
Boras, who also represents Mets right-hander Matt Harvey, notes that Fernandez is getting a head-start at the big league level.
"When Matt Harvey was 20, he was a sophomore in college," the agent said.