09/29/12 7:41 PM ET
Yelich, Fernandez named players of year
By Tom Green / MLB.com
"I didn't want to come, but I had to," said Fernandez, Miami's top selection in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft. "That wasn't my plan. I wanted to come when it was my time to come [to the Majors] ... I'm happy to be here, it's just a little thing I had."
The reason Fernandez stepped foot in Marlins Park earlier than he expected? He and outfielder Christian Yelich, teammates at Class-A Jupiter and the top two prospects in the Marlins' organization according to MLB.com, were honored in a pregame ceremony at the stadium.
The team announced late Friday that Fernandez, a right-handed pitcher, was named the Minor League Pitcher of the Year, while Yelich was named the club's Minor League Player of the Year for the second straight season.
Yelich was selected 23rd overall by the Marlins in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft. Since joining the Marlins' system, the 20-year-old outfielder has impressed.
This season he hit .300 with 29 doubles, five triples, 12 home runs and 48 RBIs in 106 games for Class-A Jupiter. He led the Florida State League in slugging percentage (.519), ranked second in average and on-base percentage (.404) and third in runs scored (76), while earning FSL Mid-Season and Annual All-Star honors.
"I kind of struggled at the beginning of the year," Yelich said. "I started off hot and hit a little bit of a rough patch. I kind of just learned to deal with that stuff, because obviously it's going to happen. ... I think that's a good learning experience, and something that really helped me this year."
Fernandez, the 14th overall selection in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, was dominant in 25 starts between Low-A Greensboro and Jupiter, going a combined 14-1 with a 1.75 ERA. The righty went 7-0 in 14 starts with Greensboro before he was promoted to Jupiter on June 25. With the Hammerheads he went 7-1 with a 1.96 ERA in 11 starts, earning wins in six of his final seven outings.
"I learned a lot," Fernandez said. "I learned how to pitch a little bit, I learned how to mix, how to set up hitters a little bit better. I've still got a long way to go, a long way to learn, and hopefully I keep learning.
"Who knows, maybe tomorrow I'm here, or tomorrow I'm in Double-A. What I know for sure is I'm going to keep working hard and keep trying to get better."
Buehrle not confirmed for Wednesday's start
MIAMI -- If Friday's performance was Mark Buehrle's last for the Marlins this season, it was a memorable one.
Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said Saturday that the team hasn't yet decided if Buehrle will start Wednesday's season finale against the Mets, although the team's game notes currently have him listed as the probable pitcher for that game.
"We think about it, we talk about it, [but] we don't know about it," Guillen said when asked if Buehrle will toe the rubber one last time this year. "It depends. I think it depends on where we are and how he feels."
Buehrle threw eight strong innings Friday, but didn't factor into the decision. He's 13-13 with a 3.74 ERA on the year, and he eclipsed 200 innings pitched for the year on Friday for the 12th straight year -- a goal he set for himself during Spring Training.
He is now at 202 1/3 innings on the season, and has issued just 40 walks. According to Elias, Buehrle has pitched at least 200 innings and surrendered no more than 61 walks in each of the last 12 seasons, joining Cy Young as the only other pitcher in Major League history to throw 200 innings and walk fewer than 65 batters in 12 consecutive seasons.
With Buehrle's preseason goal reached and the Marlins well out of postseason contention, the lefty may want to hang it up for the year and instead give the start to someone else. Lefty Wade LeBlanc, who has made eight starts but worked mostly out of the bullpen this season, is a possible candidate if Buehrle doesn't make the start.
LeBlanc, who just missed out on the Marlins rotation during Spring Training, is 1-4 with a 4.68 ERA in his eight starts this year.
Guillen said he needs to consult with pitching coach Randy St. Claire about whether Buehrle will start, but added that the decision is ultimately in Buehrle's hands.
"The decision is Buehrle's," Guillen said. "We'll decide things and be respectful. If he wants to start, that'll be great, but if not? We'll respect his decision. This kid has been pitching well, been very consistent with us over the years. ... We'll see what happens."
Miami BBWAA hands out hardware on Saturday
MIAMI -- A quartet of Marlins were honored on the field shortly before first pitch Saturday.
Giancarlo Stanton, Donovan Solano, Jose Reyes and Justin Ruggiano all received awards from the Miami chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America to commemorate their respective seasons.
Stanton earned team MVP honors for his prodigious season at the plate. The Marlins' lone All-Star selection was batting .286 with a career-high 35 home runs entering Saturday. Despite missing 39 games this season due to injuries and knee surgery, Stanton owns the second-highest home runs total in team history, behind Gary Sheffield's 42 in 1996.
"Besides the injuries I've progressed a lot as a hitter," Stanton said. "I didn't have that extra month to stay consistent and complete the whole season consistent, but for the time I was on the field I liked how I progressed from last year."
Solano, who has impressed manager Ozzie Guillen throughout the season, took home team Rookie of the Year honors. He was hitting .294 entering Saturday, and has filled in nicely since taking over at second base earlier in the season, raising the question of whether he could be the team's everyday second baseman next year.
Ruggiano, acquired in late May in a Minor League trade with the Astros, earned the team's Jeff Conine "Mr. Marlin" award. Ruggiano has been a pleasant surprise for the Marlins, hitting .313 with 13 homers in 91 games.
In his first season with the Marlins, Reyes earned the Miami chapter of the BBWAA's Charlie Hough "Good Guy" award, which goes to the player who has been most accommodating to the media members covering the team.
Carlos Lee needs just one home run to establish his 14th straight season with at least 10 home runs and 25 doubles. His current 13-year run is tied with three others for the fifth-longest such stretch in Major League history. Stan Musial holds the record, accomplishing the feat in 16 straight seasons from 1942-58.
Tom Green is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.