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Marlins' Fernandez, Rays' Myers win rookie honors

The SportsXchange

In a showdown between two Cuban defectors, Miami Marlins right-hander Jose Fernandez won the National League Rookie of the Year award, topping Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig in the voting.

Tampa Bay Rays right fielder Wil Myers did not arrive in the majors until June, but that did not prevent him from winning the American League Rookie of the Year.

In the NL voting by members of the Baseball Writers Association of America, Fernandez received 26 first-place votes. Puig, the runner-up, garnered the other four first-place votes. St. Louis Cardinals right-hander Shelby Miller finished third.

Myers, 22, also was a runaway winner, earning 23 of 30 first-place votes. Detroit Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias, who received five first-place votes, came in second place. Rays right-hander Chris Archer finished third, getting one first-place vote. The final first-place vote went to Oakland A's right-hander Dan Straily, who came in fourth in the balloting.

Speaking on MLB Network, Myers said, "It's awesome. It's a huge honor to win this. I'm very excited."

Playing 88 games -- just over half a season -- was enough for Myers to emerge with the hardware. He batted .293 with a .354 on-base percentage, a .478 slugging percentage, 13 home runs and 53 RBIs.

Myers was acquired by the Rays last winter in an eight-player trade that sent right-hander James Shields to the Kansas City Royals.

Iglesias, a 23-year-old Cuban, was acquired by the Tigers from the Boston Red Sox in a late-July trade. A slick defender, Iglesias filled in down the stretch for Detroit while shortstop Jhonny Peralta served a 50-game suspension for his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal. Iglesias batted a combined .303 with a .349 on-base percentage, a .386 slugging percentage, three homers and 29 RBIs in 109 games.

Fernandez, 21, went 12-6 with a 2.19 ERA (second in the NL) in 28 starts this year. He struck out 187 and walked 58 in 172 2/3 innings before the Marlins shut him down in mid-September to keep him from overextending his arm.

In addition to throwing a scoreless inning in the All-Star Game midway through his rookie season, Fernandez led the league in fewest hits allowed per nine innings (5.786).

Speaking on MLB Network, Fernandez recounted leaving Cuba for the United States. He and his mother and sister traveled over water to Florida, finally arriving in 2008 after multiple attempts to defect.

"It was a tough decision, leaving behind my family to come here and do what I love to do, which is playing baseball," he said. "With my mom, we tried a couple of times, but we were put in jail a couple of times. Pretty happy we got to this beautiful country, and being here and being Americans is pretty amazing."

As he spoke, Fernandez was flanked by his mother and grandmother, the latter of whom arrived in the United States from Cuba on Sunday.

Puig, 22, hit .319 with a .391 on-base percentage, a .534 slugging percentage, 19 homers and 42 RBIs in 104 games for the Dodgers. He made a huge splash in the first month after his June 3 debut, hitting .443/.473/.745 with eight homers and 17 RBIs in his first 27 games. In his remaining 77 games, he hit a pedestrian .272/.363/.452 with 11 homers and 25 RBIs.
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