José Fernández has capped off his remarkable first year in Major League Baseball with a massive honor…
The 21-year-old Cuban professional baseball pitcher for the Miami Marlins has been named the National League Rookie of the Year by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA).
The phenom with an inspiring personal story and incredible talent received first-place votes on 26 of 30 ballots. He was second on four ballots, and he received a total of 142 points.
Fernández was a finalist along with Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig and Cardinals right-hander Shelby Miller.
Puig finished second, and he collected four first-place votes. The Rays’ Wil Myers won the American League Rookie of the Year Award.
“When they said my name, and said I had 26 votes, it was pretty nice,” said Fernández. “I’m really excited. I think the fans down in Miami are really happy about it. My family here is really excited too.”
Fernández beat long odds to even gain his freedom from Cuba. He reached the United States after several failed attempts, and after settling in Tampa, Fla., in 2008, the hard-throwing right-hander doggedly pursued his baseball dream. The Marlins made him the 14th overall selection in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft.
Making the day even more memorable is Fernández was able to celebrate with his grandmother, Olga, whom he had not seen since he left Cuba five years ago.
Olga obtained a five-year visitation visa, and the Marlins set up a surprise visit for Fernandez to reunite with his grandmother on Sunday at Marlins Park.
When Fernández was informed he had won, he was flanked by his grandmother and mother, Maritza, during the announcement on MLB Network.
“I was kind of expecting to be the Rookie of the Year, or it to be close,” Fernández said. “Having my grandma here came out of nowhere. It’s completely out of nowhere. I’m trying to let it sink in, and I’m trying to spend time with her.”
Fernández is the fourth player in franchise history to win the NL Rookie of the Year Award, joining Dontrelle Willis (2003), Hanley Ramirez (2006) and Chris Coghlan (2009).
Fernández also joins Tony Oliva (1964) as the only Cuban-born Rookie of the Year.
Entering the season, MLB.com ranked Fernandez as the Marlins’ No. 1 prospect and the seventh overall prospect in the Majors.
In Fernandez’s 28 starts, the Marlins were 18-10. Fernandez paced all NL rookies in ERA (2.19), strikeouts (187), batting average against (.182) and WHIP (0.98). He also averaged 9.75 strikeouts per nine innings
As part of his remarkable 2013, Fernandez also threw an inning in the All-Star Game, and he didn’t disappoint. In a perfect sixth, Fernandez struck out Dustin Pedroia and Chris Davis while getting Miguel Cabrera on a soft pop fly to first.
The performance made Fernandez the third pitcher in the history of the All-Star Game to strike out two batters prior to turning 21 in his Midsummer Classic debut.