Monday evening, Tigers right-handed starter Michael Fulmer was named the 2016 American League Rookie of the Year, besting Indians outfielder Tyler Naquin and Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez.
Fulmer, who will turn 24 in March, was acquired from the Mets at the 2015 trade deadline as part of the Yoenis Cespedes deal. He reached the majors in late April and quickly showed he belonged. In 26 starts, Fulmer tallied 159 innings, a 3.06 ERA (135 ERA+), and a 3.14 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He also notched a quality start in 58 percent of his tries, and finished with 4.9 WAR.
Naquin couldn't match Fulmer's season-long consistency, while Sanchez didn't accumulate enough playing time.
Nevertheless, here's how the three finalists stacked up statistically:
Fulmer becomes the fifth Tigers player to win the award, and the first since Justin Verlander in 2006. The other Tigers pitcher to win the award? None other than Mark Fidrych. Nice company. Additionally, Fulmer is the first pitcher to win the AL ROY since Jeremy Hellickson with the Rays in 2011. (Jacob deGrom was the last NL pitcher to accomplish the feat, doing so in 2014.)
Fulmer led AL rookie starters (with more than 10 starts) in ERA, ERA+, and OPS+ against. He also led all AL rookies in starts, innings pitched, wins, strikeouts and WAR (by 2.1 wins, nearly doubling the runner-up, Astros starter Chris Devenski, who checked in at 2.8).
In case you were wondering, Fulmer received 26 of the 30 first-place votes, with the rest going to Sanchez -- a polarizing candidate, given his limited playing time. Naquin's rough finish to the season and brutal defensive metrics cost locked him in to third place, with Devenski and a slew of others splitting what remained of the third-place votes. Here's a look at the full voting results:
|Tim Anderson||White Sox||--||--||2||2|
You can view individual ballots on the BBWAA's official site.