It is great to see Miami Marlins right-handed pitcher Jose Fernandez come away with the 2013 National League Rookie of the Year award in a season that was expected to be completely lost after the Marlins traded away the franchise to the Toronto Blue Jays nearly a year ago. Fernandez provided joy to Marlins fans and actually gave the fans a reason to come see the 100-loss team play. Now, it is up to Fernandez to continue his dominance.
A sophomore slump does come for some pitchers after a great first season. Being that Fernandez is only 21-years-old he is going to have some slip ups in his career, but those slip ups cannot be too brutal that it ruins his confidence and affects him for the rest of his career. A 12-6 record with a 2.19 ERA in 28 games and 187 strikeouts is something to marvel at. He is a finalist for the National League Cy Young award as well.
Hitters are going to catch on. You can only throw in the high 90s for so long before batters start to really pay attention to how you throw and if you are tipping pitches. The last starting pitcher to win the National League Rookie of the Year award was former Marlin Dontrelle Willis. Willis went 14-6 with a 3.30 ERA and 142 strikeouts in 2003 — a year which the Marlins won the World Series. In the following year, Willis’ wins and strikeouts decreased while his ERA increased. After a great 2005 season, Willis struggled for the rest of his career and could not pick it back up.
Fernandez cannot let that happen. He is a great pitcher with a lot of potential. He has to maintain his confidence and continue to strive for success.