Miami Marlins All-Star starting pitcher Jose Fernandez has been voted National League Rookie of the Month for the month of August. This is his second consecutive Rookie of the Month Award after being voted winner for the month of July. Fernandez becomes the first pitcher to win the award twice in the same season since Craig Kimbrel in 2011 (June and August), and he is the first pitcher to win in consecutive months since Josh Johnson in 2006 (May and June).
In six August starts, Fernandez posted a 3-1 record while holding opposing hitters to a .158 batting average, the lowest mark among qualifying Major League pitchers. His 49 strikeouts were tops in the N.L. and ranked second among all Major Leaguers. The 21-year-old hurler led big league rookies with 39.0 innings pitched while his 1.15 ERA (five earned runs in 39.0 innings pitched) was the second-lowest among qualifying rookie pitchers and ranked third overall in the N.L. Only Atlanta's Alex Wood, a fellow rookie and runner-up for this month's honor, and Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw had a lower August ERA.
Fernandez started the month with a dazzling 14-strikeout performance in his August 2nd start against Cleveland. The young right-hander matched a career high with 8.0 scoreless innings in the 10-0 win while breaking a franchise rookie record for strikeouts just five days after he had set the new mark by fanning 13 on July 28th vs. Pittsburgh. The 14-strikeout effort was his fourth double-digit strikeout performance of the year, marking the first time an N.L. rookie pitcher had thrown as many games with 10-or-more strikeouts since Philadelphia's Cole Hamels in 2006. Fernandez also became the first Major League pitcher to record back-to-back games with 13-or-more strikeouts since Randy Johnson accomplished the feat in 2004 while becoming the first rookie to do so since Chicago's Kerry Wood in 1998. According to Elias, Fernandez became just the fifth pitcher under the age of 22 since 1900 to record consecutive games with 13-or-more strikeouts, joining Dennis Eckersley (1976), Dwight Gooden (1984), Jose Rijo (1986) and Wood (1998). Fernandez, who was selected by the Marlins with the 14th overall pick in the 2011 Draft out of Tampa's Braulio Alonso High School, continued to shine in his August 8th start at Kansas City, holding the Royals scoreless on just four hits through 7.0 innings of work. Although Fernandez did not factor in the decision, his strong performance resulted in a 1-0 victory for the Fish. Fernandez earned wins in back-to-back starts on August 19th vs. the Dodgers and August 24th vs. Colorado, fanning eight in each outing and allowing just one earned run across the two starts (against Los Angeles). His stellar outings earned him recognition as the co-winner of the N.L. Player of the Week Award for August 19th-25th, his second career citation. Fernandez improved his record to 10-5 on the season, joining Hideo Nomo and Jaime Garcia as just the third Major League pitcher in the last 25 years to post a double-digit win total while compiling a sub-2.50 ERA in the first 25 starts of a rookie season. The Santa Clara, Cuba native currently has a 2.33 ERA, good for third among Major League pitchers this year and first among qualifying rookies.
Other rookies receiving votes included Milwaukee's Scooter Gennett (.423, 33 H, 4 HR, 9 RBI, .645 SLG, .452 OBP) and Khris Davis (.319, 23 H, 6 HR, 15 RBI, .653 SLG); Atlanta's Wood (2-0, 0.90 ERA, 28 SO, 30.0 IP); Yasiel Puig (.320, 17 R, 33 H, 3 HR, 8 RBI, .515 SLG) of the Dodgers; San Diego's Jedd Gyorko (.253, 10 R, 25 H, 8 HR, 17 RBI, .556 SLG); and Philadelphia's Darin Ruf (.229, 15 R, 24 H, 9 HR, 16 RBI).
The National League Rookie of the Month for August 2013, Jose Fernandez, will receive a specially designed trophy, suitably engraved, to commemorate his performance.