Sorry Yasiel Puig fans, but Jose Fernandez is the NL ROY. And there really shouldn’t be a debate about it. What Jose Fernandez is doing on a Marlins teams that is in the cellar of the NL East is remarkable considering he didn’t pitch above High-A ball before this season. But, lets let the numbers do the talking.
The 20-year-old is sporting a 10-5 record, with a 2.30 ERA in 152.2 IP, but the numbers don’t stop there. Fernandez also has a 1.00 WHIP, has struck out 165 over those 152 + innings ( a 9.7 SO/9) and is boasting a 5.3 WAR according to Baseball-Reference.
To put that WAR into perspective, the next best WAR on the Marlins belongs to Jacob Turner who has a 2.2 WAR and then Giancarlo Stanton at 1.9. Fernandez’s 5.3 WAR rankings 10th in the National League overall (both position players and pitchers).
When looking at his numbers compared to the rest of the pitchers in the NL, the case only gets better for Fernandez. 3rd best ERA, 3rd best WHIP, 10th in Ks, 2nd best Adjusted ERA all to go with his All-Star appearance this season. He has had four double-digit strikeout performance, all coming against quality teams (Cardinals, Indians, Pirates and Padres). When Fernandez has taken the hill, the Marlins are 16-9 in his starts.
These numbers speak for themselves, but let’s entertain Puig’s stats as well. In 289 AB’s, Puig has put up a .346/.406/557 line with 13 HRs 30 RBIs. Adding to that, Puig’s WAR on the year sits at 4.0. This is where Fernandez separates himself from Puig.
Puig’s WAR ranks second behind Hanley Ramirez (4.3) and Adrian Gonzalez is close behind with a 3.2 WAR. Jose Fernandez has one of the best WAR’s in the National League and Puig isn’t even the leader on his team. He also hasn’t played in enough games for his .346 average to really carry weight to it. While it is a great accomplishment, if he played a full 162 game season, or close to it, those numbers would be quite different.
Jose Fernandez has played close to a full season, at least closer than Puig, and has been considered one of the better pitchers in the NL and the numbers back it up. It’s quite hard to compare a pitcher’s stats to a hitters, but Fernandez’s numbers can compete with the like’s of Clayton Kershaw, Matt Harvey and Adam Wainwright. Puig doesn’t have enough at-bats to be compared to Paul Goldschimdt, Yadier Molina and Buster Posey. And that’s where Fernandez deserves the Rookie of the Year award. Being able to be in the conversation with the likes of those guys shows the year he is having.
Fernandez has turned himself into one of the better pitchers in the National League and in baseball, at 20. He was in High-A ball last year and is now taking the National League and baseball by storm. Voters shouldn’t let a couple of months of “PuigMania” ruin the chance to reward a guy who has made a Marlins team worth watching and has realized a dream of making it in the major leagues.