ST. LOUIS — As expected, Marlins right-hander Jose Fernandez was named NL Rookie of the Year Monday, beating out Cardinals right-hander Shelby Miller and Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig.
And as expected, balloting by 30 members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (two from each NL market) proved a runaway for Fernandez, the 21-year-old from Cuba. Fernandez received 26 first-place votes, with Puig garnering the other four.
Miller was a distant third, with one second-place vote and nine third place for a total of 12 points, just two more than Dodgers lefty Hyun-jin Ryu. None of the other 20 rookies used by the Cardinals this season received as much as a third-place vote. (In case you’re wondering about Michael Wacha, voting was conducted before the playoffs.)
Miller led NL rookies with a 15-9 record while posting a 3.06 ERA in 173 1/3 innings, numbers good enough to win the award in many seasons. But Fernandez certainly was most deserving, finishing with a 2.19 ERA that was second in the majors among all starters. Fernandez went 12-6 for the 100-loss Marlins while making 28 starts and pitching 172 2/3 innings.
Miller pitched only once during the postseason but general manager John Mozeliak insisted last week that purely was a function of his role as long reliever. Mozeliak and manager Mike Matheny said they look for Miller to approach 200 innings next season and continue his ascent as a top-of-the-rotation type pitcher.
Fernandez, the first Cuban-born player to win the NL honor, has a chance to beat out another Cardinals pitcher when the NL Cy Young Award is announced Wednesday. While Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw is expected to be a runaway winner for the award, the voting for runner-up figures to be close between right-hander Adam Wainwright and Fernandez. You can follow Stan McNeal on Twitter at @stanmcneal or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.