The box score says there were 402 fans in attendance for the last meaningful game pitched by Jose Fernandez. Eyewitnesses in the Jupiter Hammerheads organization remember it more like 1,000, all spread out around Lakeland’s Joker Marchant Stadium and all fired up for Game 3 of the Florida State League Championship Series.

Doesn’t matter now and it certainly didn’t matter then to Fernandez, who went after the Lakeland Flying Tigers on that September night as if he were performing in a packed major-league stadium and shooting for immediate stardom.

Oh, maybe you’ve heard. Jose is scheduled to do exactly that on Sunday afternoon, starting for the Miami Marlins against the New York Mets at sparkling Citi Field, capacity 41,800.

Because he is in the Marlins organization, where the line between minor-leaguers and the big club is seriously smudged, Fernandez is flying right past Double-A and Triple-A like few kid pitchers have ever been asked to do.

He is 20, younger than former Marlin aces Josh Beckett, Dontrelle Willis and Livan Hernandez were at the time of their major-league debuts. Matter of fact, even Stephen Strasburg, the arm of the hour, was made to turn in a handful of Triple-A starts before making his first big splash for Washington at 21.

Ready or not, Miami’s front office is rolling the dice with Fernandez. On the final day of spring training he was plucked from the minor-league camp and added to the opening-day roster. Personnel problems contributed, with Nathan Eovaldi and Henderson Alvarez on the 15-day disabled list, but let’s be honest. The Marlins, stripped down and headed for the cellar, are in need of a positive headline or two.

There’s none of the usual seasoning here, but then there was none with Dwight Gooden, either. He went from 19-4 with 300 strikeouts for Class-A Lynchburg in 1983 to 17-9 and 276 strikeouts with the Mets the following year. On rare occasions, and Doc was too rare for words, talent is just talent.

A thirst for battle, however, is the ingredient that Fernandez has in ample supply. Andy Haines, manager of the Hammerheads, experienced that whenever he went to the mound to lift Fernandez after five innings of work in support of the organization’s regimented pitch-count restrictions.

“Every time I would try to let him know we were looking out for his best interests,” Haines said. “Usually, though, there would be a conversation about him wanting to stay in.”