Detroit Tigers: Michael Fulmer Named Finalist for Rookie of the Year

Detroit Tigers fans didn’t get to see the team qualify for the postseason, but they could see a Tigers player walk away with some silverware.

Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Michael Fulmer has been named a finalist for the American League Rookie of the Year award.

Major League Baseball announced the news, tweeting out the names of three players up for the award. Cleveland center fielder Tyler Naquin and New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez were named as also named as finalists.

The announcement is no surprise considering how brilliant Fulmer was as a rookie.

After coming over in the Yoenis Cespedes swap, Detroit’s future ace made a significant impact in just his first season in the Majors.

Fulmer logged a 3.0 WAR while also pitching to a 3.06 ERA in 159 innings. The former New York farmhand also allowed just 0.91 home runs per nine frames.

Detroit likely wouldn’t have been anywhere near the playoff race if it wasn’t for the efforts of Fulmer, who allowed more than three earned runs in a start on just three occasions following May 21st.

Thanks to the performances of Fulmer, Matt Boyd and Daniel Norris, the Detroit Tigers are now set up for the long haul with three excellent young starters.

Competition

While Fulmer was far and away the rookie pitcher in the American League, he’ll face some serious competition from both Tyler Naquin and Gary Sanchez.

Starting mainly against right-handed pitching, Naquin hit .296 with a .372 on-base percentage while appearing in 116 games for Cleveland. The outfielder also added 52 runs scored, 43 RBI, 18 doubles, six stolen bases and five triples. He also turned in a solid wRC+.

While both Fulmer and Naquin were contributors for most of the season, Sanchez burst on to the scene late, going on a tear a the plate that began on August 3rd.

With just six Major League at-bats on his resume before said tear, Sanchez would go on to collect 60 hits, 42 RBI, 34 runs scored, 20 home runs and 12 doubles in just 53 games played.

The backstop’s 57 strikeouts were a bit of a concern, but that didn’t stop him from registering a 171 wRC+.

Will Fulmer Win the Award?

Michael Fulmer certainly has plenty of competition for the award, but at his point, the starter looks to have the upper hand.

Detroit’s pitcher was a key piece of the team for the majority of the season, while Sanchez only debuted in August. What’s more, Naquin only logged 32 at-bats versus left-handed pitching.

Fulmer’s comparatively complete resume should help him out in the voting process.

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