Jose Fernandez was named the National League’s Comeback Player of the Year, becoming the first player to receive the honor posthumously.
The late Marlins pitcher, who died in a boating accident in late September, was chosen in a vote of 177 NL players.
The vote, which was conducted by The Sporting News, took place in September, with many votes submitted before Fernandez’s death. Fernandez received 70 votes, easily outdistancing runner-up Tanner Roark, the Washington Nationals pitcher, who received 27 votes.
“I feel like Jose would be really excited about receiving the award,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “ Jose was excited about everything that happened in his pitching.”
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In what was his first full season since returning from Tommy John surgery, Fernandez was magnificent, going 16-8 with a 2.86 ERA and leading the majors by averaging 12.5 strikeouts per nine innings, the fourth-highest strikeout ratio in big league history.
He was also selected to the All-Star team for the second time.
Even though the Marlins limited his workload to protect his arm from further injury, Fernandez still managed to establish career highs in starts (29) and innings pitched (182).
Fernandez and two others were killed in a boat crash, one day before he was scheduled to make his final start of 2016.
Mattingly said he still has not fully processed the tragedy involving not only the Marlins’ best pitcher, but also one of the sport’s premier hurlers.
“It’s still surreal,” Mattingly said. “It’s hard. Either today or yesterday, I remember thinking it had been 30 days since I received that call at 6:30 [a.m.].”
Fernandez became the third Marlins pitcher to win the award, joining Darren Daulton (1997) and Casey McGehee (2014).