After a phenomenal rookie season, the Miami Marlins’ Cuban pitching sensation Jose Fernandez was named the 2013 National League Rookie of the Year by Sporting News. Fernandez accumulated 12 wins for the Fish this season before he was shut down in early September.
As a 20-year-old, Fernandez had never pitched above Class-A Jupiter before he got the call to the big leagues this April. In 28 starts, he pitched 172 innings to the tune of a 2.19 ERA while striking out 187 batters. His 12 wins were most among any Miami pitcher this season.
On the mound, Fernandez was a catalyst. But his influence did not end there. While he was not pitching, Fernandez was found on the top step of the dugout, cheering on his comrades. He was one of the first to congratulate Henderson Alvarez upon the completion of his no-hitter on the last day of the season.
The most notable Fernandez celebration came in July when Giancarlo Stanton hit a clutch ninth-inning homer, tying the game and unhooking Fernandez from the potential loss:
As exciting as the season was for Jose, his final start was marred with controversy. On September 11 against Atlanta, Fernandez hit his first career home run and was met at home plate by Braves’ catcher Brian McCann. A shouting match ensued, causing the benches to clear. Upon close inspection, it appears that Fernandez was not the farthest out of line. Nevertheless, the feud was a sour end to an overall fantastic season.
Many baseball experts considered Fernandez the favorite candidate to win the NL ROY award. Yet, it is impressive that he still beat out fellow-Cuban Yasiel Puig, whose emergence in the Dodgers’ lineup rejuvenated the team, igniting LA for a huge postseason run.
If Fernandez were to win the official NL Rookie of the Year award, he would be the fourth Marlin to do so (Dontrelle Willis-2003, Hanley Ramirez-2007, Chris Coghlan-2009). The MLB award winners will be announced after the conclusion of the World Series.