Originally posted on Fox Sports South  |  By JAY CLEMONS  |  Last updated 9/10/13
As the 2013 season hits the stretch run, a certain 21-year-old pitcher with Cuban roots may be primed to overtake a certain 22-year-old slugger, also with Cuban roots, in this week's MLB Rookie Watch. Unfortunately, these wunderkinds reside in the National League, meaning one will be left out in the cold, metaphorically speaking, in mid-November. 1. SP Jose Fernandez, Marlins 11-6, 2.23 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 18255 K-BB (.181 BA) This may be a one-week stay for Fernandez at the top spot, if the Marlins follow through on the plan to shut down their frontline stud at the 170-inning mark or after this week's start against the Braves. And that's a shame, for it would essentially give Yasiel Puig a two-week window to claim Rookie of the Year honors, unfettered. Of course, Fernandez has been so dominant of late ... perhaps some in the media have already earmarked him for the award. Check out the kid's absurd run of greatness in recent months: Of his last 23 starts, dating back to April 29, Fernandez has surrendered three runs or less 22 times. Fernandez has notched eight or more strikeouts 12 times this season including his last four outings. Since June 14, the Marlins righty has registered double-digit strikeouts four times a feat only replicated by Rangers ace Yu Darvish. From a 30-day perspective, Fernandez has a 3-1 record, 0.82 ERA, 0.70 WHIP, 398 K-BB and .132 opponents' batting average. 2. OF Yasiel Puig, Dodgers 15 HR, 34 RBI, 58 R, 10 SB, .343 BA, .406 OBP OK, so Puig no longer merits serious consideration for National League MVP. That ship has sailed. But he's still a viable candidate for the ROY hardware, with the potential to run away with the award ... if he finishes strong and Jose Fernandez goes on the shelf. However, Puig has struggled of late, batting only .263 (with a .321 on-base percentage) over the last 30 days. And in that span, the overall batting average has dropped 34 points. On the plus side, among NL hitters with at least 300 at-bats, Puig leads the league in hitting and ranks third with on-base percentage behind Joey Votto and Shin-Soo Choo. (Puig doesn't have enough plate appearances to qualify for the official NL batting title.) On a smaller scale, the Dodgers phenom also has 20 multiple-hit games since June 30. One more thing: In Puig's brief time in the big leagues, Los Angeles boasts a 61-27 overall record, converting a 7-game deficit in the NL West (June 3) into a 12-game advantage for the division. 3. SP Julio Teheran, Braves 11-7, 3.01 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 14842 K-BB For the season at large, the 22-year-old Teheran has been a reliable source of energy for the Braves. However, there's also a feast-or-famine aspect over the previous three months. From June 5 to Aug. 30, spanning 16 outings, Teheran has allowed two or less runs 11 times; the other five starts yielded middling returns of three, four, four, five and five runs. In that span, the Braves rookie has also notched eight-plus strikeouts six times including his last two starts. And for the entire year, Teheran has recorded three or less walks in 25 of 26 outings. 4. SP Shelby Miller, CardinalsSP Hyun-Jin Ryu, Dodgers (tie) It's entirely possible that Miller and Ryu end up with the same amount of NL Rookie of the Year votes by season's end, given their eerily similar tallies. Here's a tale of the tape (as of Sept. 9): Wins: Ryu (13-12) ERA: Ryu (3.02-3.19) WHIP: Miller (1.21-1.22) Strikeouts: Miller (157-139) Walks: Ryu (46) Opponents' batting average Miller (.235-.252) Outings of three or less runs allowed: Miller (23-21) Outings of seven or more strikeouts: Miller (9-7) Advantage: Miller 5. OF Wil Myers, Rays 17 HR, 44 RBI, 35 Runs, 5 Steals, .292 BA, .354 OBP Myers is an excellent bet to bring home ROY honors in the American League even though he currently doesn't lead in hits, runs, doubles, triples, homers, RBI, steals, batting average or on-base percentage, among the Junior Circuit's first-year crop. But that could change in the coming days. Of his last six games (Sept. 3-8), Myers has tallied two homers, three RBI, three multiple-hit games and four runs, a micro mimicking of his tremendous work from July 10-28 four homers, 16 RBI, 10 runs and 10 multiple-hit outings. It also helps that Tampa Bay has a 42-30 record since Myers' big-league debut on June 18. If the playoffs began today ... the Rays would be the American League's second wild card.
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