Nov 11 2013, 11:05pm CST | by Poch de la Rosa
Myers, 22, became the first AL Rookie of the Year to have played in fewer than 100 games. He follows in the footsteps of Even Longoria (2008) and Jeremy Hellickson (2011) to have won the award for the Rays in the last six years. Myers snagged 23 of 30 first-places votes, per the Associated Press.
His closest pursuers were Detroit Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias and Rays teammate Chris Archer.
Myers told the Associated Press he wasn't expecting to win the award. Now that he has, he will cherish it.
"Honestly, when I was called up that didn't even cross my mind. As the season went on I could see I would have a chance. To be able to win is just a huge honor and I'm very excited about it."
Myers not being able to play 100 games in 2013 stems from the fact that he was only able to suit up in a Rays uniform on June 18, a little over six months after the trade that sent pitcher James Shields to the Kansas City Royals.
Myers went on to hit .293 to go along with 13 home run and an AL-leading 53 RBIs among rookies in 88 games last season.
On the other hand, the 21-year-old, Cuban-born Fernandez joins the likes of Dontrelle Willis (2003), Hanley Ramirez (2006) and Chris Coghlan (2009) -- making it four in the last 11 years for the team. Fernandez did Myers one better by getting 26 first-place votes, completely pushing his countryman and Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig (who got just four first-place votes) out of the picture.
Puig extended his congratulations to Fernandez.
"I'm very happy that he won. He worked really hard to achieve this and he pitched extremely well with Miami and he deserved this just as we deserve to be nominated. I am happy for him, that a Cuban won.
"I'm happy his grandmother arrived and I hope he enjoys his time with his grandmother and enjoys the prize he won."
For his part, Fernandez said it felt great to be mentioned in the same breath as his NL Rookie of the Year predecessors with the Marlins.
"It means a lot just to be compared to those guys. I'm not sure I was even born when those guys were playing. But for sure I heard the names before and they did a lot of good things in baseball...All the kids in Cuba play baseball."
Fernandez arrived in the United States by boat as a Cuban refugee in five years ago. Ironically, he has roots in the Tampa Bay area after he attended Braulio Alonso High School. What's even more shocking is that he had no plans of playing in the major leagues, fully expecting to wind up in Class AA.
Instead, he had a 10-3 record as Marlins starter and a 1.50 ERA, allowing more than two runs just once in 18 starts for Miami. He also represented the National League in the 2013 MLB All-Star Game in New York City.
Fernandez was so dominant as a first-year player that he is also a finalist for the National League Cy Young award, whose winner will be announced on Nov. 13, per White.
Poch de la Rosa
Poch de la Rosa follows all major U.S. sports: NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL and the NCAA. His favorite teams are the Colts, Braves, Pacers, Sharks and Irish, respectively.
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