Jose Fernandez, Wil Myers bring top rookie honors to Sunshine State

The Associated PressNovember 12, 2013 

NEW YORK — Jose Fernandez arrived early. Wil Myers made it big after a blockbuster trade.

Neither one needed much time to create a splash, and together they brought both Rookie of the Year awards to Florida.

Fernandez stood out in a very deep National League class this season, and the precocious Miami Marlins pitcher received 26 of 30 first-place votes from a Baseball Writers’ Association of America panel in results announced Monday.

Myers won the American League prize after the Tampa Bay slugger put up impressive offensive numbers in barely half a season. The right fielder was chosen first on 23 of 30 ballots, beating out Detroit shortstop Jose Iglesias and Rays teammate Chris Archer.

“Honestly, when I was called up that didn’t even cross my mind. As the season went on I could see I would have a chance,” Myers said on a conference call from his North Carolina home. “To be able to win is just a huge honor, and I’m very excited about it.”

The two announcements marked the beginning of awards week in baseball. NL and AL Manager of the Year will be revealed Tuesday, with the Cy Young winners Wednesday and MVPs on Thursday.

Myers became the third Tampa Bay player in six years to be selected Rookie of the Year, joining Jeremy Hellickson (2011) and Evan Longoria (2008).

Fernandez easily topped runner-up Yasiel Puig of the Los Angeles Dodgers as Cuban players finished 1-2 in the NL race.

The only previous Rookie of the Year winners from Cuba came in the AL: Jose Canseco in 1986 and Tony Oliva in 1964.

“It means a lot just to be compared to those guys,” Fernandez said. “I’m not sure I was even born when those guys were playing. But for sure I heard the names before, and they did a lot of good things in baseball. ... All the kids in Cuba play baseball.”

Puig received the other four first-place votes and amassed 95 points to 142 for Fernandez, who made the All-Star team at age 20. He went 12-6 with a 2.19 ERA and 187 strikeouts for a last-place club that finished 62-100.

“I’m very happy that he won,” Puig told MLB.com in comments circulated by the Dodgers.

The 22-year-old Myers batted .293 with 13 home runs and 53 RBI in only 88 games after he was called up from the minors June 18. He immediately added much-needed power to the middle of the Rays’ lineup, helping them reach the playoffs as an AL wild card.

Myers was rated one of baseball’s best hitting prospects when he was traded from Kansas City to Tampa Bay last December in a seven-player deal that sent pitchers James Shields and Wade Davis to the Royals.

Fernandez was shut down in September after 172 2/3 innings to protect his arm. Still, his debut season was so superb that he’s one of three finalists for the NL Cy Young Award — though Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw is a heavy favorite.

Fernandez already has one big prize, however, and he hugged his mother and grandmother when he won.

He came to the United States by boat as a Cuban refugee in 2008, apparently rescuing his mom along the way.

The News Tribune is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service