Marlins’ Jose Fernandez Captures The 2013 National League Rookie Of The Year Award
By Clark Spencer, Miami Herald
ORLANDO — Willie Mays. Jackie Robinson. Tom Seaver. Pete Rose.
All are baseball legends who were great from the get-go, Rookie of the Year Award winners who remained stars over the full course of their outstanding careers.
Jose Fernandez is hoping to follow in their footsteps.
The 21-year-old pitcher for the Miami Marlins on Monday was named the National League’s Rookie of the Year, arguably one of the best rookie seasons turned in by a pitcher of his age since Dwight Gooden.
Fernandez beat out another young Cuban-born player, the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig, for the honor. St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Shelby Miller was third in voting my members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
Fernandez went 12-8 with a 2.18 ERA that ranked second in the majors. Every fifth day when he took the mound, he helped make a dreadful season for the last-place Marlins a touch more bearable.
Fernandez became the fourth Marlin to win the prestigious award for rookies, joining Dontrelle Willis, Hanley Ramirez and Chris Coghlan. He is also the first pitcher from a 100-loss team to win the award since Tom Seaver of the New York Mets in 1967.
The Marlins went 18-10 in games he started.
But Fernandez wasn’t exceptional only by rookie standards. His season ranked as one of the best among all major league pitchers – rookie or veteran. As a result, he is also one of three finalists, along with Clayton Kershaw and Adam Wainwright, for the N.L. Cy Young Award, given to the league’s top pitcher.
Though the Marlins drafted him with their first-round pick in 2011 out of Tampa’s Alonso High, it was still a rapid ascension to stardom for the unflappable right-hander. He was expected to start the season at Double A Jacksonville. But he landed a spot on the Opening Day roster when injuries created a vacancy in the starting rotation.
Fernandez has his ups and downs in April, finishing the month with a 0-2 record. But he took off after that, and from June 1 forward evolved into one of the most dominant pitchers in the majors.
He was selected to represent the Marlins in the All-Star Game, where he retired the three batters he faced, striking out two of them. His dominance didn’t end there, as he posted a 7-1 mark with a 1.32 ERA after the All-Star break.
For the season, opposing batters hit just .182 off Fernandez – the best figure for any starting pitcher in the majors. The Texas Rangers’ Yu Darvish was next on the list with a batting average against of .194.
Fernandez is the third Cuban-born player to win rookie of the year. Tony Oliva (1964, Twins) and Jose Canseco (1986, A’s) won the AL award.