Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Florida Rookie Sweep

With the announcement of the first end of the year awards in Major League Baseball, Wil Myers of the Tampa Bay Rays and Jose Fernandez of the Miami Marlins have won the American and National League Rookie of the Year awards respectively. This is the third Rookie of the Year award for the Rays in the last six years (Evan Longoria 2008 and Jeremy Hellickson 2011) This is the fourth Rookie of the Year award in the last eleven years for the Marlins (Dontrelle Willis 2003, Hanley Ramirez 2006, Chris Coghlan 2009). This isn't surprising coming from two franchises who do amazingly well when it comes to developing young talent often at the expense of said talent who (with the exception of Evan Longoria) are often traded away for draft picks and other younger talent when they reach the latter years of their rookie contracts.

According to the Baseball Writers Association of America, the voting for the Rookie of the Year is done in the following manner:
Two writers from each MLB city are recommended by the local chapter chairman and approved by the national secretary-treasurer to vote for each award. Writers from NL cities vote for NL awards, and writers from AL cities vote for AL awards, making 30 voters for each award. Most traveling beat writers will vote for at least one annual award each year. In some chapters, columnists or backup writers may also vote. Any active member of the BBWAA is eligible to vote for annual awards, regardless of his or her number of years in the organization. Some Honorary members may also vote
Myers (who came to the Rays in last offseason's trade between the Royals and the Rays for James Shields) won the award with 23 first place votes for a total of 131 total points ahead of Detroit shortstop Jose Iglesias and fellow Rays teammate Chris Archer. Since his call up on June 18th, Myers hit .293/.354/.478 with 90 hits in 335 at-bats of which 23 were doubles and 13 homeruns. He drove in 53 runs, scored 50 runs while walking 33 times and striking out 91 times.

According to Adam Berry in his article Myers runs away with AL Rookie of the Year Award from MLB.com dated November 11, 2013:
Myers became the first player to lead AL rookies in RBIs in fewer than 90 games since Detroit's Hoot Evers did so in 1946. He also paced AL rookies in doubles (23), extra-base hits (36) and OPS (.831), recording an overall batting line of .293/.354/.478 with 13 homers and 53 RBIs.
In addition according to the Elias Sports Bureau:
Myers is only the fourth position player to win a Rookie of the Year Award after playing fewer than 100 games, joining Willie McCovey (52 games in 1959), Bob Horner (89 in 1978) and Ryan Howard (88 in 2005).
In the Little Havana neighborhood of the city of Miami, Tampa native Jose Fernandez won the award with 26 first place votes for a total of 142 points ahead of Los Angeles Dodgers rookie standout and fellow Cuban Yasiel Puig. In  28 starts, Fernandez went 12-6, with a 2.19 ERA in 172.2 innings pitched. Fernandez struck out 187 batters while only walking 58 and giving up 111 hits for a WHIP of 0.979 and an opposing hitters batting average of .182. His 2.19 ERA was second in the National League to the Dodgers Clayton Kershaw's 1.83 and his 9.75 K's per 9 innings the second best in the league behind A.J. Burnett of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Also according to the Elias Sports Bureau:
Fernandez Was Doc-Like: Jose Fernandez won the National League Rookie of the Year Award after a season in which he went 12-6 with a 2.19 ERA for a team that lost 100 games. And did we mention that Fernandez didn't turn 21 years old until July 31? His ERA was the lowest in a season by a pitcher younger than 22 who threw at least 150 innings since Dwight Gooden had a 1.53 ERA for the Mets in 1985, his second season in the major leagues.
Fernandez joins Minnesota Twins outfielder Tony Oliva (AL 1964) and Oakland Athletics outfielder (AL 1986) as Cubans who have won a Rookie of the Year award.

The question that I would ask is if we will still see these two outstanding players in their respective Floridian uniforms once their rookie contracts end or will they be traded to other teams in the repeating circle of life that seems to be the way things are done with the Florida MLB franchises. Only time will tell.

Sisco Kid

For Further Reading:
- Click Here to access Wil Myers' career statistics from Baseball Reference
- Click Here to access Jose Fernandez's career statistics from Baseball Reference
- Click Here to access the breakdown of the American League Rookie of the Year vote from the BBWAA website
- Click Here to access the breakdown of the National League Rookie of the Year vote from the BBWAA website