MIAMI -- Gaby Sanchez continued the Marlins' impressive string of producing top-flight rookies.

But despite posting some of the best numbers of any first-year player in the National League, Sanchez fell short Monday in the NL Rookie of the Year Award voting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. With two first-place votes, one second-place vote and five third-place votes, Sanchez finished fourth with 19 points. Giants catcher Buster Posey (129 points) won the award, with Braves right fielder Jason Heyward (107) placing second and Cardinals lefty Jamie Garcia (24) finishing third.

Sanchez, a Miami native who grew up a Marlins fan, showed durability and productivity in what ended up being one of the best rookie classes in years. He paced all NL rookies in hits (156), at-bats (572), doubles (37) and RBIs (85). The 27-year-old first baseman was tied for third among rookies in home runs with 19. He appeared in 151 games, which was second to Washington shortstop Ian Desmond (154) for most by an NL rookie.

Still, Sanchez's durability and production numbers weren't enough to swing the voters into making him the fourth Marlins player to be named the NL Rookie of the Year. Florida has dominated the category the past seven years, claiming three awards. Had Sanchez won, he would have joined Dontrelle Willis (2003), Hanley Ramirez ('06) and Chris Coghlan ('09).

After learning of the voting results, Sanchez couldn't help but express his disappointment.

"I was definitely a little upset," Sanchez told the Palm Beach Post.

All season, Sanchez was aware he was in for a tough battle. The 2010 class included players who promise to be All-Star-caliber performers for years. Along with Posey, Heyward and Garcia, the field included Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro, Mets first baseman Ike Davis and Pirates second baseman Neil Walker.

Sanchez also told the Post that he felt the writers around the country had made up their minds on either Heyward or Posey early in the season.

"Look at Jaime Garcia's numbers," Sanchez said. "He had an unbelievable year, and it didn't matter what he did -- he wasn't going to get better than third. I feel like it's a little unfair."

All season, Sanchez was aware he was in for a tough battle. The 2010 class included players who promise to be All-Star-caliber performers for years. Along with Posey, Heyward and Garcia, the field included Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro, Mets first baseman Ike Davis and Pirates second baseman Neil Walker.

As he repeatedly heard his name in the Rookie of the Year conversation, Sanchez downplayed it. First and foremost, his focus was on being able to contribute on a daily basis.

"I'm just happy to be able to get a full season," Sanchez said at the end of the season. "That's the biggest thing for me. It's not the numerical part, the numbers."

Still, Sanchez didn't deny the award would have meant something.

When asked about what the ROY race, he added: "It would mean a lot if does happen, but if it doesn't, I'm not going to think I had a bad year because I didn't win. There are a lot of guys who are playing this year who are rookies who have had unbelievable numbers."

A couple of those performers happened to be Sanchez's teammates. Mike Stanton and Logan Morrison joined the team in June and July, respectively, and each made an impact.

GO BUSTER
How the Baseball Writers' Association of America voted for the National League Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Award.
Player 1st 2nd 3rd Pts
Buster Posey, SF 20 9 2 129
Jason Heyward, ATL 9 20 2 107
Jaime Garcia, STL 1 1 16 24
Gaby Sanchez, FLA 2 1 5 18
Neil Walker, PIT 1 3
Starlin Castro, CHC 3 3
Ike Davis, NYM 2 2
Jose Tabata, PIT 1 1
Jonny Venters, ATL 1 1

Stanton, who turned 21 earlier this month, was called up on June 8 from Double-A Jacksonville. The slugger played in 100 big league games, yet still managed to top all rookies in home runs with 22.

Morrison, who competed with Sanchez for the first-base job in Spring Training, became Florida's left fielder late in July. Showing tremendous plate discipline, he batted .283 with a .390 on-base percentage in 62 games.

The rookie trio of Sanchez, Morrison and Stanton give the Marlins three young core position players to build around for years to come.

"The rookies we have on this team all have shown they can play at this level," Sanchez said. "LoMo has done an outstanding job since he got called up. You've got Stanton, who has the most power I've ever seen in my life from any human being. He's 21. He's going to just get better and better and better. He's definitely going to develop into a superstar."

Of the three, however, Sanchez was regarded as most deserving the NL Rookie of the Year based on the fact he was an impact player from Opening Day.

The Marlins recognized and respected that fact. They showed their support for Sanchez late in the season with a T-shirt campaign. Showing solidarity for Sanchez, on Sept. 30, players wore specially designed T-shirts during batting practice to raise awareness. The shirts read: "GS 14 4 ROY" (Gaby Sanchez, No. 14, for Rookie of the Year).

Similar shirts were worn by the players a year ago, drumming up support for Coghlan.

Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez said the fact that Sanchez performed over the entire season should have been a strong consideration in the voting.

"I think that should have an influence, it should be a factor to people when they come to vote," Rodriguez said. "Gaby's been very consistent since Day 1. That should be part of the factors and part of the element when they vote."