Chavez Fernander, a former Polk State Eagle, and his teammates on the 2018 Gulf Coast League West Tigers received rings today for winning the 2018 Gulf Coast League Championship.
The ceremony took place at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland before a spring training game between the Detroit Tigers and Toronto Blue Jays.
The Gulf Coast League Tigers are a Rookie League affiliate of the Detroit Tigers, who selected Fernander in the 35thround of the 2018 MLB Draft.
The Tigers West won their division with a 37-16 record. In the postseason, they defeated the GCL Red Sox in a one-game playoff and advanced to the best-of-three championship series against the GCL Cardinals.
After the teams split the first two games, Fernander started the final game and earned the win, allowing one run in five innings as the Tigers cruised to a 9-2 victory and the championship.
After winning the championship, Fernander was promoted to the Connecticut Tigers of the New York-Penn League (Single A).
The right-hander from Grand Bahama finished his first year in professional baseball with a 4-1 record and a 1.59 ERA. In 39 innings he walked 9 and struck out 41.
In his sophomore year at Polk State, Fernander went 8-4 with a 3.09 ERA, allowing 18 walks and recording 63 strikeouts in 58 innings. He was named to the Second Team All-Suncoast-Conference.