NEW YORK – Jose Fernandez of the Miami Marlins and Wil Myers of the Tampa Bay Rays were selected baseball’s Rookies of the Year on Monday.
Fernandez stood out in a very deep National League class, and the pitcher received 26 of 30 first-place votes from a Baseball Writers’ Association of America panel. His debut season was so superb that he’s one of three finalists for the NL Cy Young Award, with the winner to be announced Wednesday.
Myers took home the American League prize after putting up impressive offensive numbers in barely half a season. The right fielder was chosen first on 23 of 30 ballots, beating out Detroit shortstop Jose Iglesias and Rays teammate Chris Archer.
Myers became the third Tampa Bay player in six years to be selected Rookie of the Year, joining Jeremy Hellickson (2011) and Evan Longoria (2008).
“It’s awesome,” Myers said in an interview on MLB Network. “It’s a huge honor to win this. I’m very excited about it.”
Fernandez easily topped runnerup Yasiel Puig of the Los Angeles Dodgers. The right-hander was the fourth Marlins player in 11 years to win, following Chris Coghlan (2009), Hanley Ramirez (2006) and Dontrelle Willis (2003).
After the Marlins dumped nearly all of their high-priced stars last winter, Fernandez was a rare bright spot in Miami’s 62-100 season. He made the All-Star team at age 20 and went 12-6 with a 2.19 ERA and 187 strikeouts in 172⅔ innings.
The 22-year-old Myers batted .293 with 13 home runs and 53 RBIs in only 88 games after he was called up from the minors June 18. He immediately added much-needed power to the middle of the Rays’ lineup, helping them reach the playoffs as an AL wild card.
Myers was rated one of baseball’s best hitting prospects when he was traded from Kansas City to Tampa Bay last December in a seven-player deal that sent pitchers James Shields and Wade Davis to the Royals.
The Rays were 36-33 before Myers arrived this season and went 56-38 the rest of the way. They won a tiebreaker at Texas for the final AL playoff berth and beat Cleveland in the wild-card game before getting eliminated by eventual World Series champion Boston in the division series.
Myers finished with 131 points in the balloting to 80 for Iglesias, traded from the Boston Red Sox to Detroit Tigers just before the deadline in late July. Archer and fellow pitcher Dan Straily of the Oakland Athletics each had one first-place vote.
The announcements marked the beginning of awards week in baseball. NL and AL Manager of the Year will be revealed Tuesday.
Braves to get new home
Turner Field had a signature event right at the start — a trembling Muhammad Ali emerging from the shadows to ignite the flame that opened the 1996 Summer Olympics. In the years that followed, the Atlanta Braves hosted many memorable moments of their own, from a World Series and All-Star Game to the farewells of Bobby Cox and Chipper Jones.
Now, just 17 years after it opened, it looks as though the stadium affectionately known as “the Ted” is headed for extinction, like so many sports facilities in this city.
In a stunning announcement, the Braves said Monday they are moving to a new 42,000-seat, $672 million stadium about 10 miles from downtown in suburban Cobb County, apparently swayed by a lucrative financial package that was just too good to pass up.
Mayor Kasim Reed said the city couldn’t match a $450 million offer from one of Atlanta’s sprawling northern suburbs, though it wasn’t immediately clear how the county of some 700,000 people plans to raise the money or whether it will require a vote of the taxpayers.
Until now, Cobb County was perhaps best-known nationally as the base of former House speaker Newt Gingrich and for passing an anti-gay ordinance in the 1990s that led the Olympic organizing committee to abandon plans to hold events there during the Atlanta Games.
In 2017, it will become the home of the Braves.
“It was with mixed emotions that we made this decision,” team president John Schuerholz said. “The new stadium, we believe, will be one of the most magnificent ever built.”
Cobb Commission Chairman Tim Lee said the team is working to finalize a memorandum of understanding that would be presented to the full commission at its Nov. 26 meeting. He said his fellow commissioners have already been briefed on the deal.
“The response has been very positive, very enthusiastic and supportive of this investment, which will bring significant economic growth to Cobb County and the region,” Lee said.