The MLB Rookie of the Year Award can be a lottery draw or a done deal. Wil Myers of the Tampa Bay Rays and Jose Fernandez of the Miami Marlins might as well start celebrating early because they deserve the coveted honor.
It’s not that the duo has no competition. On the National League side there's Shelby Miller of the St. Louis Cardinals and Yasiel Puig of the Los Angeles Dodgers who could give Fernandez a run for his money. And Myers’ top challengers are Jose Iglesias of the Detroit Tigers and Dan Straily of the Oakland Athletics. It’s a batch of talented players out there but Fernandez and Myers stick out.
Fernandez has been consistent all season with a 2.19 ERA over 28 games. He has struck out 187 batters against 58 walks. Fernandez was the bright spot for the Marlins in a dark season of 62 wins and 100 losses. Dayn Perry of CBS Sports reported that Fernandez has logged a qualifying number of innings while Puig has not.
Perry also stated that Fernandez could possibly have had one of the best rookie seasons in baseball history. Miller and Puig have strong numbers, but not enough to edge out Fernandez.
He could have had an even more successful season but Miami constantly took him out. It would be a shame for Fernandez to burn that arm out early in his career.
He even ended his season with a commotion, when he hit his first home run of his major league career and almost started a brawl while doing so. Fernandez’s dramatic, yet exciting ending is only a preview for the rest of his career.
The winner may be even more clear-cut on the American League side, where Myers entered the Major Leagues ready to make history.
He started strong, then cooled off in August, and finished his season hitting .293 with 13 homers and 53 RBI.
Myers was named the AL Rookie of the Month in September. He could make history for Tampa Bay as only one player for the team has been named Rookie of the Year.
Myers' consistent season and strong finish make him deserving of the award, even if it’s not as important to him. Cash Kruth of MLB.com reports Myers saying before the last game of the season:
I'm not concerned about [the Rookie of the Year Award]. I'm more concerned about today. It's the last game of the season -- regular season -- and everybody's got to come out and play hard, and I think everyone's a little more amped for this game. So we just have to go out and play our game. Whatever happens, happens.
Myers’ biggest competition is from Tigers infielder Jose Iglesias, who ended the 2013 season hitting .303 with three home runs and 29 RBI. Iglesias is arguably one of the best defensive shortstops in baseball, along with Andrelton Simmons of the Atlanta Braves.
This season Iglesias played in more games and made a bigger impact than Myers, as the additional time on the field helped Iglesias become greatly recognized.
However, Myers put up better numbers over a shorter time period with his strong offensive stats and zero recorded errors in 142 defensive chances.
There is no question that this season boasted a phenomenal rookie class. However, Fernandez and Myers made waves in their rookie seasons and promise even more accolades and records in the future.
They are truly deserving of the Rookie of the Year honor.