Fernandez, the 14th overall pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, hadn't pitched a single inning above Class A when Miami slotted him into its rotation on April 7. But he was anything but overmatched, going on to enjoy a historically impressive rookie season, as he immediately developed into the Marlins' ace.
Fernandez went 12-6 with a 2.19 ERA and 187 strikeouts in 172 2/3 innings over 28 starts. The Marlins ended his season early after he hit a predetermined innings limit, but there was little doubt that Fernandez was one of the league's best pitchers -- not merely one of the top rookies.
The 21-year-old, named to the NL All-Star team in his first campaign, led the NL by allowing just 5.8 hits per nine innings.
"When you make guys look silly up there, almost like they don't want to get in the box their second or third time, it's fun to watch," Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton said earlier this season.
"The main thing that sticks out is his mound presence," former Mets pitcher Dwight Gooden said in September. "He pitches like he's been there a long time. He's not afraid of the hitters. He likes pitching inside. He has a lot of confidence. I don't think he's cocky. Just a lot of confidence. That's what really sticks out."
The annual Sporting News awards are voted on by Major League players. The Baseball Writers Association of America will announce its Rookie of the Year Award winners on Nov. 11, with the AL presentation scheduled for 6:18 p.m. ET and the NL presentation slated for 6:48 p.m. ET.
If Monday's announcement was any indication, Fernandez could have another honor heading his way that night.
"To think that he was going to start the season in Double-A, and for him to have a chance to be the Rookie of the Year, none of us would have predicted that," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. "He's been great, and an outstanding story. Going forward, you have that front-line pitcher. Not a lot of teams have that. That's huge."
Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.