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Tigers RHP Fulmer earns AL Rookie of the Year honors

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Fulmer happy to be Rookie of the Year (1:18)

Tigers pitcher Michael Fulmer explains what it feels like to be the 2016 American League Rookie of the Year and how it compares to when he was traded to Detroit for Yoenis Cespedes. (1:18)

Detroit Tigers pitcher Michael Fulmer was named the American League Rookie of the Year, beating finalists Gary Sanchez of the Yankees and Tyler Naquin of the Indians.

The 23-year-old right-hander went 11-7 with a 3.06 ERA in 26 starts for a Tigers club that narrowly missed the playoffs.

"I'm really happy and blessed to receive this award,'' Fulmer said on a conference call. "I knew that both Gary and Tyler [Naquin] had outstanding years, and I hope to play against them for a long time.''

Over a 14-start stretch spanning late May to mid-August, Fulmer pitched 93⅔ innings and recorded a 1.44 ERA. He started that run by becoming the second pitcher in major league history to make four straight scoreless starts of at least six innings while allowing three hits or fewer, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

A late-season swoon caused a dip in Fulmer's numbers, however. Following his first career shutout in an Aug. 14 start, Fulmer pitched fewer than six innings in four of his final seven starts. During that post-Aug. 14 stretch, the righty's ERA steadily increased from 2.25 to 3.06.

Fulmer is the fifth Tigers player to win Rookie of the Year, joining Justin Verlander (2006), Lou Whitaker (1978), Mark Fidrych (1976) and Harvey Kuenn (1953). Verlander is now a mentor to Fulmer in the Detroit rotation.

"I remember back in spring training where I was kind of nervous to come up to him,'' Fulmer said. "I watched him. Ever since he was a rookie, he was one of my favorite pitchers in the game.''

Fulmer joined the Tigers organization at the 2015 trade deadline as part of the deal that sent slugger Yoenis Cespedes to the Mets.

ESPN's Mark Simon and The Associated Press contributed to this report.