Josh Hader of the Milwaukee Brewers is the recipient of the 2019 Trevor Hoffman National League Reliever of the Year Award, while Aroldis Chapman of the New York Yankees has earned the 2019 Mariano Rivera American League Reliever of the Year Award, Major League Baseball and presenting sponsor The Hartford announced today. This is Hader’s second consecutive season winning the award, joining Craig Kimbrel and Kenley Jansen as the only two-time winners.
Balloting for the Rivera and Hoffman Awards, which debuted in the 2014 season, was conducted among a panel of seven all-time great relievers in order to determine the recipients. Rivera and Hoffman, both of whom spent their entire careers in the same League en route to the top of the all-time saves list, were joined as voters by three fellow Hall of Fame relief pitchers – Dennis Eckersley, Rollie Fingers and Lee Smith – as well as John Franco and Billy Wagner. The seven voters ranked the top three AL relief pitchers and the top three NL relief pitchers based solely on regular season performance, using a 5-3-1 weighted point system.
“Winning NL Reliever of the Year for the second time is an honor that I don’t take for granted,” said Hader. “It is especially humbling when you consider the panel of all-time greats who vote on the award. I want to thank Craig Counsell, my coaches, and especially my teammates, without whom I would not be in this position. I also want to thank the passionate Brewers fans, who have always been very supportive.”
“For me to receive this award is an honor because of how much it means to us relievers,” said Chapman. “This is my first time winning this award, but what makes it really special is having the opportunity to wear the same uniform and to pitch from the same mound as Mariano Rivera.”
Hader posted a 2.62 ERA in his 61 games in 2019 and struck out 138 batters – the most of any reliever in MLB for a second straight year. In his 75.2 innings, he surrendered only 41 hits and 20 walks, limiting opponents to a .155 batting average. Hader averaged 16.4 strikeouts per nine innings pitched. The 37 saves by the second-time All-Star in 2019 were tied with Chapman for the third most in the Majors and set a new franchise mark by a left-hander. He was the NL Reliever of the Month presented by The Hartford for both May (10 G, 0.71 ERA, 6 saves, 12.2 IP, 21 SO, .098 batting average against) and June (9 G, 0.68 ERA, 7 saves, 13.1 IP, 25 SO, .050 batting average against). Only eight of the 33 baserunners he inherited came around to score. Since the start of the 2018 campaign, Hader leads the Major Leagues with 16 saves of at least 2.0 innings, including nine such saves in 2019. The Brewers posted a 51-10 record in the games in which Hader pitched.
Chapman collected 37 saves with a 2.21 ERA in his 60 relief appearances in the 2019 regular season, along with a 3-2 record. The southpaw registered 85 strikeouts in 57.0 innings pitched, allowing 38 hits and 25 walks. He was the AL Reliever of the Month presented by The Hartford for both May and August, the latter of which included 11.0 scoreless innings. The six-time All-Star in his 10 Major League seasons averaged more than 13.4 strikeouts per nine innings pitched in 2019, fanning 36.2% of the batters he faced. The Cuba native earned his first career All-Star Game save in the 2019 Midsummer Classic in Cleveland. He has averaged 14.84 strikeouts per nine innings in his career (535.2 IP, 883 SO), the best ratio in the Major Leagues since at least 1900 for all pitchers with at least 300.0 innings pitched. The 2019 season marked Chapman’s eighth consecutive year with more than 20 saves and his seventh with more than 25. Chapman has the most strikeouts (864) of any reliever in Baseball since 2011, his first full season in the Majors.
The NL relievers who were the runners-up are All-Stars Kirby Yates (1.19 ERA, 60 games, MLB-high 41 saves, 60.2 IP, 41 H, 13 BB, 101 SO) of the San Diego Padres and Will Smith (6-0, 2.76 ERA, 63 games, 34 saves, 65.1 IP, 46 H, 21 BB, 96 SO) of the San Francisco Giants. The AL relievers who were the runners-up are All-Star Liam Hendriks (4-4, 1.80 ERA, 75 games, 25 saves, 85.0 IP, 61 H, 21 BB, 124 SO) of the Oakland Athletics and Roberto Osuna (4-3, 2.63 ERA, 66 games, AL-high 38 saves, 65.0 IP, 45 H, 12 BB, 73 SO) of the Houston Astros.
The Rivera and Hoffman Awards replaced MLB’s “Delivery Man of the Year Award,” which was presented to one winner in all of Major League Baseball from 2005-2013. These awards have continued a longstanding baseball tradition of honoring the game’s top relief pitchers.
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