Michael Fulmer of the Detroit Tigers was named the 2016 American League Rookie of the Year on Monday. He beat out fellow finalists Gary Sanchez of the New York Yankees and Tyler Naquin of the Cleveland Indians for the honor.

MLB announced the news on its Twitter account:

Here are the complete voting results for the prestigious award:

ESPN Stats & Info noted just what made the pitcher such a good choice for voters:

Fulmer lived up to his billing as a top prospect by immediately slotting in as a reliable member of the Tigers rotation. He finished his first season with a 11-7 record to go along with a 3.06 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and 132 strikeouts in 159 innings across 26 starts.

Although he fell three innings short of reaching the number needed to qualify, he would have ranked third in the AL in ERA behind only Aaron Sanchez of the Toronto Blue Jays and teammate Justin Verlander. His WHIP would have tied for sixth.

George Sipple of the Detroit Free Press noted in late September the 23-year-old starter wasn’t overly concerned about chasing down the ERA title, though.

“I’d rather pitch in the postseason than get a personal achievement, honestly,” Fulmer said. “Seriously, it might be a once in a lifetime chance. I’m wanting that feeling, and this team is wanting that feeling.”

He’ll need to wait at least one more season to achieve that goal, as the Tigers fell 2.5 games short of the final wild-card spot. But that team-first attitude is welcome in any clubhouse.

Moreover, Fulmer’s successful transition to the majors played a key role in Detroit having a top-10 starting staff. The Tigers finished tied for ninth in starter ERA with the Seattle Mariners, per ESPN.

Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press previously pointed out another key rookie honor the starting pitcher received:

In the end, his performance was enough to hold off a late charge from Sanchez, who tallied 20 home runs in just 53 games for the Yankees. Naquin also enjoyed a strong debut year, finishing with a .372 on-base percentage, 14 homers and six stolen bases.

Now the Tigers will hope Fulmer can build off his terrific first season to become a crucial cog in the club’s rotation for the foreseeable future. He’s already shown the tools necessary to make that happen.


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