Miami Marlins’ Star Giancarlo Stanton Named MLB’s National League MVP

Giancarlo Stanton is a National (League) hero…

The 28-year-old part-Puerto Rican baseball star, an outfielder for the Miami Marlins, won the National League MVP title, edging Joey Votto of the Cincinnati Reds in the closest vote since 1979.

Giancarlo Stanton

Stanton became only the sixth player to win from a losing team. The Marlins were 77-85.

“I’m so thankful it happened and I’m going to enjoy this and work to get better,” Stanton said on ESPN’s SportsCenter.

Stanton finished the season batting .281 with 168 hits, 59 HRs and 132 RBIs. His homer total was the most in the majors since 2001, when Barry Bonds hit a record 73 and Sammy Sosa had 64.

Stanton got 10 first-place votes and 302 points in balloting by members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Votto also got 10 firsts and had 300 points.

“Just so close,” Votto said, according to MLB.com, after learning the outcome. “[I’m] really, really grateful for the support. I cannot believe how close it was. I just can’t believe coming up two points short. It’s so cool in a way coming up that short. Most of the time it’s a landslide or it’s clear. This wasn’t that. That was one of the entertaining aspects of it. Because Giancarlo and I did things so differently and because we’re both on losing clubs, it was for me a very interesting vote.”

“I don’t feel terribly disappointed, not really because I think that it was just two very, very good seasons that went head-to-head,” Votto said.

Stanton is the first player in Marlins history to win an MVP award.

He led the majors in home runs, RBI, extra-base hits and slugging percentage, each of which set a Marlins single-season record, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Votto topped the majors with a .454 on-base percentage. Arizona first baseman Paul Goldschmidt was third in the voting.

The last player from a losing team to win an MVP was Alex Rodriguez, who took the AL award in 2003 with Texas. The last NL MVP from a losing team was Andre Dawson with the 1987 Chicago Cubs.

Stanton joins Dan Marino and LeBron James as the only Miami pro athletes in a major sport to win MVP.

“That’s definitely good company,” Stanton said.

Fernandez Ties Modern Record for Most Consecutive Home Victories by a Starter

Jose Fernandez is pitching his way into the MLB history books…

The 22-year-old Cuban baseball pitcher threw for seven innings Thursday and tied the modern record for most consecutive home victories by a starter to begin a career, helping the Miami Marlins beat the Cincinnati Reds 2-0.

Jose Fernandez

Fernandez won for the second time in two outings since his return from Tommy John surgery. He allowed six hits, struck out nine and improved to 14-0 in 22 career starts at Marlins Park.

The only other pitcher since 1914 to win his first 14 home decisions as a starter was Johnny Allen of the New York Yankees in 1932-33, according to STATS. Fernandez lowered his home ERA to 1.17.

On the road he’s 4-8 with an ERA of 3.93. Does he get more amped pitching at home?

“It looks like it,” he said. “I’m just lucky to be out there on that mound.”

Fernandez, who defected from Cuba a decade ago, has been a fan favorite in Miami since his rookie season in 2013. He was enthusiastically supported by the crowd of 25,027, larger than normal for the attendance-challenged Marlins.

“It was fantastic. I love it,” he said. “Sometimes I look in the stands and see the kids laughing and saying my name, and it’s really special. Knowing everything I’ve been through, I really appreciate it.”

All-Star Dee Gordon stole three bases, scored both runs and broke the Marlins record for hits before the All-Star break with 119. Miami snapped a four-game losing streak.

Working on six days’ rest, Fernandez faced his biggest jam when he allowed singles by Marlon Byrd and Eugenio Suarez on consecutive pitches in the seventh. Tucker Barnhart then grounded into a double play, ending the inning and Fernandez’s night.

“We’ve seen him before, and we know he’s good,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “He didn’t make any fatal mistakes by walking people, falling behind or giving up the big hit that could have done the damage and gotten us back in the game.”

Fernandez, who threw 94 pitches, was still reaching 96 mph in the seventh and mixed in lots of off-speed stuff. He walked none and has yet to walk a batter in 13 innings this season — all at home.

“He loves Miami, that’s all I can say,” manager Dan Jennings said. “There’s a little bit of an aura when he pitches at home.”

Fernandez struck out Joey Votto, Jay Bruce and Eugenio Suarez twice each.

“He’s Fernandez — that’s all you need to know,” said Billy Hamilton, who had an infield single off the Marlins ace. “He’s a great pitcher. With this guy, you don’t know what you’re going to get. He can throw any of his pitches at any time during the count. You have to be ready for anything.”